Voices from Gloucester: Ed's story
Clean air and clean water were the main reasons Ed Robinson chose to move his family to Gloucester more than 17 years ago. The family established a beef cattle farm on 160ha on the banks of the Avon River and fell in love with the picturesque valley.
The rich soil and pure waters of the region are highly productive and valued by growers and consumers alike. But recently things have started to change in Gloucester. The gas miners are moving in on the region and locals like Ed are worried about their land, their water and their future. “I can’t run beef if I don’t have water and nobody can tell me what’s going to happen,” Ed said.
Gas giant AGL has concept approval for up to 360 gas wells on the land surrounding Ed’s property and he is worried about the impact that such large-scale industrialization of productive farmland will have on his farm and his community.
He is also extremely concerned at the possible health impact of gas wells that will come within metres of homes. “The rest of NSW has a 2km exclusion zone but here the wells will be within 200 to 300 m of people’s homes. “If AGL gets the go-ahead this area will be scattered with wells every 600metres.”
Ed is no greenie but has found himself at the centre of a battle to protect his land, his business and his neighbourhood from invasive coal seam gas mining.
His beef cattle farm hosted a camp for protectors of the region who are trying to keep the gas miners at bay.
Ed is gob smacked by the lack of information on the future plans for the Gloucester area and worries whether his property will even have access to clean water when the frackers move in. He describes the NSW government’s laws regarding the industry as “lax.”
“Our big problem is that I ‘m not sure we can get out now because our properties have lost huge amounts of value,” he said.