Thousands of people from across Australia turned out over the weekend for the start of Lock the Gate’s national week of action against coal and coal seam gas in our communities, our farmland, bushland and water catchments.
Lock the Gate President Drew Hutton said the week of action was organised to show the unity of the movement and the determination of all 170 affiliated local groups to combat the blind support of governments for unrestricted coal and coal seam gas mining.
The Northern Rivers kicked off proceedings on Saturday with a “Rock the Gate” concert in Murwillumbah. The event was attended by over 4000 people who marched through the streets before enjoying music and speeches at the local showground. The crowd heard music from Pete Murray and Natalie Pa’apa’a from Blue King Brown and a host of other musicians. The speakers included Get Up National Director Sam McLean and Lock the Gate President Drew Hutton.
Meanwhile in Sydney over a thousand people came together to form a massive human sign in Sydney Park that read “Stop CSG!”.
“Sydneysiders have spelled it out for Premier Barry O’Farrell and Minister Chris Hartcher, there will be no coal seam gas in their city,” Mr Hutton said.
Also on Saturday, in Fremantle people gathered in Kings Square for a “fracktail party” to protest the development of an unconventional gas industry in Western Australia, and the dairy farming town of Poowong in Victoria’s South Gippsland held its first meeting to work towards declaring itself coal seam gas free.
On Sunday, Nattai, approximately 130 kilometres south west of Sydney CBD, became the first town in the Sydney Basin to declare itself CSG free. A survey of the community found 100% of residents do not want coal seam gas in their town which is within National Park bushland and Sydney’s water catchment. The community celebrated the declaration with a BBQ and speeches at Lake Burragorang lookout after which a sign was erected on the road leading into the community. The sign says: “Welcome to Nattai, a coal seam gas free community”.
Peaceful protests against coal and coal seam gas were also held on Queensland’s Fraser Coast, in Sydney’s Blue Mountains and on the riverbank at Tabulam in the northern NSW.
There is plenty still to come this week including a court case that starts today at the Land and Environment court, brought on by the residents of Fullerton Cove against Dart Energy.
The Fullerton Cove community staged a nine-day blockade in August and won an injunction to stop Dart from drilling for coal seam gas until the residents’ legal challenge can be heard by the Land and Environment Court.
Later this week there will be film screenings in the forest, coal and coal seam gas site tours, peaceful protests, picnics and the week will be wrapped up with a human sign action to spell out “Protect H2O, Stop CSG” at Bulli on Sunday.