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Call to ‘lock the gate’ on coal and coal seam gas in Gloucester

The Acting President of the national Lock the Gate Alliance Drew Hutton has given warning that the direct action seen in Queensland in recent weeks against the coal seam gas industry will be used in New South Wales if the O'Farrell Government maintains its support for coal and coal seam gas mining in the Gloucester region.

Mr Hutton, has been visiting parts of New South Wales in the last few days, including Gloucester where he met with representatives of local community groups and explained that a number of communities in Queensland had "locked the gate" on mining companies – Felton, Gowrie Junction, Scenic Rim, Kingaroy and Drillham, just to name a few – and the Western Downs Alliance had recently blockaded an attempt by QGC to bring a gas pipeline onto a residential estate near Tara to connect up several gas wells.

"This is the sort of action communities take when governments fail them," Mr Hutton said.

"State and Federal governments have given approval to projects that threaten underground water, present major health hazards to local communities and alienate good farmland and so that the only recourse for local residents is for them to withdraw their 'social licence' from the companies.

"This could involve blockading mining companies when they try to set up their operations, as the community at Caroona on the Liverpool Plains did in 2008."

Extensive coal exploration is being undertaken by two companies, Gloucester Coal (GCL) and Gloucester Resources (GRL) which is likely to result in a major expansion of open-cut coal mining in the Gloucester Valley and which may virtually encircle the town of Gloucester.  AGL plans hundreds of coal seam gas wells and associated infrastructure for the Barrington-Gloucester-Stroud area.

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