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The Hopeland community in the Western Downs will celebrate an historic occasion on Saturday when the locals declare themselves Gasfields Free.

The community conducted a survey resulting in 85 per cent of residents saying they did not want coal seam gas in their region.

The declaration will be the first of its kind in the Western Downs, one of Australia’s best food-growing regions and the event it will be controversial because of the powerful mining interests infiltrating the area.

Shay Dougall, spokesperson for the Hopeland Community Sustainability Group, said the group had serious concerns about the potential loss of farmland, damage to the viability of the farmers’ businesses and the health and safety of impacted families and surrounding communities.

“We are making a stand to save ourselves and our foodlands, air and water from the ravages of coal seam gas,” she said. “This declaration is our way of letting the State Government and the mining companies know that we are serious and united.”

Mrs Dougall will deliver the declaration to Leichhardt Patrol Minister, Rev Graham Slaughter of the Uniting Church. Local, state and federal politicians and locals have been invited to the community barbeque celebration.

The locals have spent a lot of time and effort preparing for what will be a colourful and productive event, aimed at saving precious farmland that can’t be rehabilitated once it is ruined.

WHAT:   Hopeland community BBQ to declare itself Gasfields Free

WHERE: 82 Flett’s Rd East, Hopeland

WHEN:  3-6pm, Saturday May 16

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