I live in what I believe is paradise – Murwillumbah in the Tweed Valley in North Eastern NSW. This area has the highest biodiversity values of any in NSW, if not Australia. It is internationally recognised for those ecological values. It has a vibrant agricultural industry and a growing eco-tourism industry. Not surprisingly, I see CSG mining as a threat to this area.
I am a strong local advocate for “appropriate development”, which accounts for ecological, social and economic values and priorities. I believe that local communities should have a greater say in determining what developments are appropriate for their community, and that they should be consulted in a real and meaningful way BEFORE the deals are “done and dusted”. I have given voice to that belief over the years through various local community groups.
I got involved in the fight to stop CSG after leading the successful local campaign against the imposition of the World Rally Championship on our area. I think the arguments (both for and against) are very similar and, in some ways, feel that the fight against the rally was good training for the fight against CSG.
I have worked in public education for over 30 years and am now Deputy Principal of a local high school. A key aspect of my work has been to encourage and support young people to learn to do things “the right way”. The behaviour of governments at all levels in recent years has galvanised my resolve to stand up for, and with, local communities to ensure that governments do things “the right way”.