Call to lock out miners


Call to lock out miners

Lock the gate: event organisers Stavroula (left) and Chris O’Reilly (right), with author of Rich Land, Wasteland Sharyn Munro.

AUTHOR Sharyn Munro told a packed audience at the Inverloch Community Hub on Saturday that they would have to lock the gate against miners.
The writer of Rich Land, Wasteland said the risk posed by coal seam gas and other mining ventures to the region’s natural beauty, clean waters and communities was too great to ignore. She said in researching her book – which details the detrimental effects of uncontrolled mining – she had travelled throughout the country and seen homeowners and farmers forced out of their homes, broken in spirit and in health.
“It’s community fracking,” she said.
In the lead up to Ms Murno’s address, local campaigner Chris O’Reilly, who organised the event with his wife Stavroula, told the audience Gippsland was “seeing the first puffs of wind that is already engulfing Queensland and New South Wales”.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I urge you, do not believe the political spin,” he said.
“Mining companies get a foothold in localities, convincing a few local landholders that it is only exploration, that it is all safe, and besides, they’ll make a little bit of money on the side. At the time the landholders don’t realise that by signing an agreement that they’re making the worst mistake of their lives.
“They’ve just signed away their lives forever. Once the drilling starts, the nightmare begins. Their land value plummets as does their neighbours’. No one wants to live next door to or on a gas farm.”
Mr O’Reilly said the message was simple: lock the gate and don’t let the miners on your property.
Ms Munro reiterated Mr O’Reilly’s call, describing the proliferation of mining tenements as “industrial invasion”.
“It’s a taking of land and a clearing out of people by mainly foreign forces, with full government support by their loose and biased processes,” she said.
“I want ordinary Australians to know what is happening to their country and their country folk, in the hope that they will say, this is not the Australia we want to be or need to be.”
Ms Munro said coal seam gas miners were not coming clean on the dirty, heavy metal and toxin-laced water the process produced. She said there were great reserves of it in the northern states and sometimes there was often nowhere to put it. In other cases it was treated and channelled back into waterways.
“Why on earth would we allow this risky business to boom at the expense of generations to come?” she asked.
“If we don’t do something, we’re just digging ourselves into a post-boom wasteland. People power is the only thing left now that right and reason and forward-thinking have been taken out of the process.”
Told by Ms Munro that a group of 84 landowners had locked their gates to a Leichhardt mining venture near Moree in northern NSW, the audience clapped furiously.
Phil Piper, who has been battling against a mining tenement that blankets his property at Mirboo North, said he was heartened to see so many people at the event. Other meetings held at Mirboo North had attracted similarly large crowds, he said.
Despite the fears in the community over fracking and mining leases, Mr Piper said the feedback he had received from the State and Federal governments was “nothing”.
“One of the things we’re doing is lobbying on a local level and trying to get the councils onside. Then we’ll step it up to the State and the Federal government,” he said.
“It’s like a war. We’re being invaded. They’re so insidious. They get to the politicians and you get all these former politicians working for the mining companies.
“We’ve had no idea how to fight against them, but we’re getting a bit of an idea now. Change never comes from the top, it comes from the bottom up. You’ve got to let people know what’s going on and trust they’ll help to make a change.”
Saturday’s meeting was attended by representatives of Bass Coast and South Gippsland councils.
A motion moved by Neil Rankine and Cr Ross Smith was passed unanimously. It reads: “That this meeting request the Bass Coast Shire Council to develop a position where they will refuse the use of council owned, or council controlled, land or infrastructure by mining companies seeking to develop new coal or gas from coal projects.”

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Posted by on Jun 21 2012. Filed under Community, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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