Residents of the Spring Plain district, west of Narrabri, have declared their roads and properties “Gasfield Free”, sending a strong message to government and industry that there is no social license for gas mining companies to operate in their community.
A survey conducted by a group of concerned Spring Plain residents, simply asked community members whether they wanted their road and property to remain free of gasfields. 94.5% of community members answered “yes” to the question, with the remaining 5.5% of residents saying they were “unsure”.
Around 60 people attended a declaration ceremony on Friday evening at the Spring Plain Hall during which the residents presented their declarations to Narrabri Shire Council Mayor, Conrad Bolton.
During the ceremony, survey coordinator, Kim Revell, said the survey results sends a clear and decisive message to mining companies looking to expand their operations in the area that they do not have the support of the community.
“The survey shows that we, the people of Spring Plain, are overwhelmingly opposed to gasfield exploration and mining in this area”, Kim Revell said.
“168,500 hectares of productive agricultural land have been declared gasfield free as a result of this survey.
“We will not allow the gas industry to jeopardize our precious underground water supply or turn our farms into industrial wastelands”, she said.
Survey organisers say many of the residents cited the potential effect of invasive industrial gasfields on groundwater as their main concern about the expansion of the industry in the area.
Others were concerned about the potential impact on their families and lifestyle and felt the exclusion zones offered to residents in towns should extend to rural areas to protect every single family from the negative impacts caused by invasive gasfields.
Many Spring Plain residents have erected signs on their gates and fences which clearly display their message “No Gas – Protect our Water”.
The “Gasfield Free” declaration for Spring Plain follows a similar declaration made by the Burren Junction community last week.
Kim Revell said the gasfield free declaration at Spring Plain is just the beginning of the residents’ fight to protect their land and water.
“Despite many assurances gas extraction can be done safely, there are still gaps in the science and in the regulatory processes that do not provide protection for land and water resources”, she said.
“We must keep asking the hard questions of our local, State and Federal Governments. They are there to serve our interests, not the interests of large companies at our expense”.