The family, friends and Chinchilla community are mourning the untimely loss of George Bender, a cotton farmer at Chinchilla yesterday.
He fought long and hard to defend his property and neighbours at Hopeland on the Western Downs from the impacts of coal seam gas.
The Bender family is grateful for the support they’ve received from family, friends and community members. They have asked for privacy from the media for their grief and advised they will make a statement in the next couple of days.
Lock the Gate President, Drew Hutton, has honoured and paid respects to Mr Bender and his family.
“George was known and loved dearly for being a brave, honest and kind man and a wonderful farmer. Our thoughts go out to his family at this difficult time,” he said.
“None worked harder to fearlessly challenge the powers threatening his beloved farm, the groundwater it relies on and the future of his family and local community.
“Coal seam gas mining had already caused two of George’s bores to run dry and Origin Energy were trying to force access to his property to drill 18 coal seam gas wells. They had threatened to take him to the Land Court.
“He had also been forced to live with severe pollution from the Linc Energy underground coal gasification project that adjoined his property, which had impeded his regular farming operations and which threatened his livelihood.
“The impacts of living in coal seam gasfields are taking a huge and devastating toll on rural communities and farming families in Queensland.
“For someone who has done so much for the Western Downs and farmers, it is now that we must continue his fight for the rights of all landholders to say ‘no’ to mining.
“Many farmers feel isolated and alone against mining companies and are suffering severe stress as a result. Our political leaders, including the Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, must do more to protect people from the worst excesses of the multi-national miners.
“Landholders need the right to say no to mining where they don’t want it. Heavy coercion and intimidation by cashed up CSG miners and their lawyers needs to end immediately.”
You can watch George’s story here: http://www.lockthegate.org.au/george-story