Copies of more than 500 letters written by Wide Bay farmers, business owners and concerned locals were yesterday (Nov 22) handed to Blue Energy executives and Queensland Government officials as part of a campaign to stop gasfields being developed in the region.
Two of Blue Energy’s petroleum licences in the Wide Bay are due to expire next month, and its third is due to expire in March.
The delivery of the letters comes after Lock the Gate released mapping showing the petroleum licences covered 40,000 ha of the Bundaberg region’s high quality strategic cropping land.
Cane farmer and business owner Judy Plath said the sheer number of letters demonstrated beyond all doubt that Blue Energy did not have a social licence to operate in the region.
“The 135 farmers who wrote a letter represent the bulk of our key farming land - an incredible 46,413 ha,” she said.
“The remainder of the letters were written by doctors, nurses, business owners, and concerned local residents who do not want to see our valuable farming land turned into gasfields.
“These people don’t want this invasive, divisive and polluting industry in their backyards, they don’t want the risk to soil and water quality in the region, and they don’t want our multi-million dollar tourism industry’s reputation shattered due to the presence of unconventional gas mining.”
Lock the Gate Wide Bay co-ordinator Vicki Perrin reiterated Lock the Gate’s call for Blue Energy to relinquish their licences, and for the Queensland Government to extinguish the licenses so they could never again be bought by a gas company.
“The Palaszczuk Labor Government must support long term industries like tourism and agriculture over boom and bust gas mining,” she said.
“Gas companies will never have a social licence to operate in our region - it’s time the government realised this.”
Letters by the numbers
135 Farmers; including some of the biggest farmers in their industries in Australia
These farmers are employing thousands of people in the Wide Bay region
50 Businesses from irrigation suppliers to tourism operators to medical practices
150 community members (including community groups such as Landcare and Meals on Wheels)
11 doctors and nurses concerned about the health impacts
150 employees of local businesses who are concerned about their jobs (including farming and non-farming businesses)
46 413 hectares of farming land that will not welcome gasfields