Outrage as Community Democracy overshadows government spin

Published: November 25, 2013

The Lock the Gate Alliance has expressed outrage at the attempt by the NSW Government to cloak its technical negotiations with agricultural peak bodies as community acceptance of the proposed land access arrangements for CSG and shale gas introduced into the NSW Parliament.

The Government announcement was overshadowed over the weekend as communities in the Northern Rivers at Kyogle and in the North West near Narrabri, declared themselves Gasfield Free – the latest milestone in a movement that is growing across the State.

“These results shout loud and clear that the people in these communities reject the proposed access arrangements” said Phil Laird National Co-ordinator of the Lock the Gate Alliance.

“In both regions, more than 98% of surveyed residents said that they did not want to live in a gasfield and that is clear evidence that there is no social license for the unconventional gas industry.”

 The latest community declarations follow the release of new proposed arrangements to give access to farmland for gas companies, brokered by Land and Water Commissioner, Jock Laurie, with NSW Farmers and NSW Irrigators Council, but criticised by the Lock the Gate Alliance.

Mr Laird continued, “It is obvious that the Laurie process is too narrow and hopelessly flawed. In the absence of meaningful action by Government communities are taking it upon themselves to lock the gate and declare themselves gas free”

“98% of Landholders want a fair go, they want the right to say no.”

A report into the health dangers of living in an industrial gasfield were released on Saturday, giving urgency to the community declarations.

The report by Dr Wayne Somerville looks at the possible physical and mental impacts to the health of anyone living in CSG and shale mining areas as well as potential impacts to workers in the industry.

“This Government must take into account the wishes of the people, the scientific evidence and the disastrous experiences in the United States and Queensland. We do not want to live in a gasfield.” Mr Laird concluded.

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