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Limestone Coast participates in Australia’s National Highway Action

Lock the Gate Media Release

World’s Longest Highway Protest, All Australian States and Territories

Communities across Australia will take to our highways on June 25, 2016, as part of the world’s longest highway protest, to raise awareness about the risks of coal and unconventional gas mining to water resources in the lead-up to the Federal election.

What: People, colourful banner sand signs along 5,800km of Australia’s highways

When: Saturday 25th June 2016, starting mostly at 10am

Why: To raise awareness of the risks to water and food-producing land, and to encourage motorists to ‘Vote Water Not Gas’, as part of the Water4Life campaign.

Roadside protest

People will be stretched across 21 of the nation’s major roads and highways, and will also be active in Mount Gambier, Beachport, Naracoorte, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Darwin, Hobart, Cairns, Alice Springs and Canberra.

They will encompass numerous key seats including the electorates of Page (NSW), Petrie (Qld), New England (NSW), Barker (SA), Corangamite (Vic), Longman (Qld), Richmond (NSW), and Cowper (NSW).

HIGHWAY DISTANCE (km)
New South Wales
Pacific Highway 694
Newell Highway 478
New England Highway 360
Thunderbolts Way 291
Hume Highway 105
Bruxner Highway 194
Queensland
Bruce Highway 518
Bruce Hwy FNQ 328
Warrego Hwy (1 location)
Cunningham Hwy 500
South Australia
Mt Gambier – Penola – Naracoorte (Riddoch Hwy)
Millicent – Beachport – Robe – Kingston (Princess Hwy)
Mt Gambier – Port MacDonnell (Bay Rd)
Eastern entrance to Mt Gambier & western entrance to Mt Gambier (Princess Hwy).
250
Claywells Rd
Princes Highway, the Southern Ports Highway, the Millicent-Beachport Rd, the Robe-Penola Rd., the Adelaide Rd, Millicent, and the Beachport-Penola Rd  10
Victoria
Hamilton Hwy 357
Princes Hwy 267
Western Australia
Forrest Hwy 204
Bussell Hwy
Brand Hwy 755
Great Northern Hwy
Northern Territory
Stuart Hwy 422
Stuart Hwy, Alice Springs 100
Tasmania
Ridgeley Hwy (1 location)
TOTAL 5,833

 

 

Local government, community dispute ‘facts’

MORATORIUM NEEDED: Robe District Council Mayor Peter Risely – pictured with council chief executive officer Roger Sweetman – says the overwhelming community support for a moratorium on unconventional gas mining in the South East is gratifying, the law rests with mining companies.

ROBE is hardly a place for political ferment and if far left and Greens-inspired ‘activism’ are rife in town, no one told the locals.

But this conservative, coastal fishing and tourism enclave has become a catalyst to change the way the debate surrounding unconventional gas exploration will proceed.

With a potential threat to underground water, the farming and fishing industries (on which people depend for their livelihoods), public anger, perceived disinformation and a ‘deaf’ state government have been enough to make the mouse roar and empower South East communities.

Honesty, conviction and the feeling something was just not right had convinced Robe’s Liberal Party branch and Robe District Council to make it known that unconventional gas mining in the region could not be accepted as a competing industry without proper analysis.

This has been followed by a massive groundswell of support from farmers, irrigators, residents, local government, the grape and wine industry and the medical profession (among others), leading to the formation of the Limestone Coast Protection Alliance, the Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council’s USG sub-committee and the emergence of Lock the Gate in the SE.

But the state government appears oblivious to what is happening which, by all accounts, should be pretty obvious.

There appears to be almost negligible support for coal seam, shale or tight gas exploration in the Mid and Lower South East where possibly Australia’s most fragile aquifer system is already under immense pressure.

While the threat to water quality was the trigger for protest against companies such as Beach Energy, which has already sunk two exploratory wells near Penola, land degradation, air pollution and health issues are fast pitting the rural community against the mining companies that have the state government’s blessing.

The Liberal opposition, with little to say for itself on the issue before the March election – belatedly announcing that it would establish a parliamentary committee to examine unconventional gas mining if it won – appears to have been swept up by the tide of community sentiment and is trying to find a safe haven: does it run for cover or stand up and be counted?

In the blue-ribbon state electorates of Mount Gambier and MacKillop, and the federal seat of Barker, any mining company which believes it can stake claims on the promise of great riches while espousing safety claims that fail to satisfy community expectations is likely to be given short shrift.

With seven member councils voting at the South East Local Government Association’s June meeting to carry five resolutions relating to the issue, including one to “support a moratorium on unconventional gas extraction”, the stage has been set for either a reasonable dialogue with state government ministers and the mining companies – holding petroleum exploration licences over vast areas of SA – or an ugly confrontation.

Mayor of Robe Peter Riseley says community concern is growing by the day.

“Council received about 50 letters from farmers and others in the community raising concerns about possible adverse impacts of unconventional gas mining in the region,” he said.

“It was enough to ring alarm bells.”

Significantly, SELGA’s proposed moratorium – which calls on state government to “require tight gas, shale gas and geothermal developers to acquire a water allocation under the SE Water Allocation Plan for their activies” – has no timeframe, saying “the moratorium is not concluded until matters (detailed in the five motions put by Robe, City of Mount Gambier, District Council of Grant and Kingston District Council) are concluded.”

* Full report in Stock Journal, July 3, 2014 issue.

State Mining Tax ‘holiday’ Alarm

Anne Daw – who serves on the Rountable for Unconventional Gas Projects – described the inclusion of a ‘royalty holiday’ in Thursday’s state budget announcement as appalling.

Under the announcement, companies would be given a FIVE YEAR ‘holiday’ from royalty payments to stimulate developments, but they would still need to be paid following the grace period.

“It’s now not only the community that doesn’t want this activity here, it’s the councils who represent the community as well”, Ms Daw said.

“This should not be happening in the South East.”

Ms Daw said while she applauded SELGA for taking a stand, Thursday’s announcement was proof it was not being heard.

“SELGA has sent a clear message to the government” she said.

“What a log of people don’t realise is the whole of the Lower South East is already mapped out for unconventional gas exploration..”

Click here to read the full article in the Penola Pennant

South East Councils push for caution and strict controls on gas developments!

The South East Local Government Association (SELGA) moved several motions at its meeting on Friday, urging State and Federal governments to take note of community concerns over issues associated with exploration and production of unconventional gas.

Currently there is exploration activity in the South East for reserves of tight gas and shale gas to determine the potential for commercial extraction.
According to SELGA President, Mayor Richard Vickery, “While Local Government has no powers in relation to approval of unconventional gas projects, it is important we consider the issues involved and reflect any concerns to State and Federal ministers. In particular, SELGA can advocate for scientific investigations and decision making that takes into account the specific needs of the South East.”

At the SELGA meeting in Naracoorte, delegates resolved to seek scientific information from the Federal Government’s “Independent Expert Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Mining Development” on the possible impact of tight gas and shale gas exploration and development on the vital water resources of the Limestone Coast.

SELGA delegates also called on the Federal Government to amend the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to include “tight gas” and “shale gas” under the definition of mining activities where water resources are deemed to be “of national environmental significance”.
In addition, SELGA voted to have the State Government require shale gas, tight gas and geothermal developers obtain a water allocation before extracting water from underground aquifers, to ensure consistency for all water-using industries in the region.

Further, the delegates called for legislative changes by the State Government to require exclusion zones around towns, tourism regions and private dwellings for gas and geothermal developments, and to require landholder approval before entering land for gas or geothermal exploration and production.

To ensure an ongoing dialogue on the issue, SELGA resolved to establish a State and Local Government taskforce to examine all relevant research, community engagement and legislative matters relating to the impact of mining activity in the South East.
Finally the meeting supported a moratorium on unconventional gas extraction in the region until such time as independent analysis is undertaken, and the requests made to the State and Federal Governments have been addressed.

“The debate on these issues was complex and spirited,” said Mayor Vickery, “but I believe we’ve covered the main issues raised by the community and arrived at some sensible resolutions to guide industry and governments.”

 

Click here to read full SELGA Media Release on Unconventional Gas 140614

 

Watch the Channel 7 news article video

Mount Gambier council adopts anti-fracking stance

Mount Gambier city councillors have unanimously supported a motion opposing unconventional gas exploration in south-east South Australia.

The council is calling on the State Government to impose at least a two-year moratorium on fracking.

It also wants the South-East Local Government Association to adopt a clear stance on the matter.

Limestone Coast Protection Alliance member Anne Daw says the city council now joins the Robe and Wattle Range councils, which have previously voiced their concerns.

“It is very, very good that the council are putting their voice out there,” she said.

“This is showing support from the community.

“It is not only the general community that have concerns but people on the council that are elected by the people and this also sends a clear message to our State Government.

“Our concerns will always be there as long as these projects are allowed.

“I really wanted to see the laws changed. We certainly are taking away their social licence in the south-east and sending a message to the petroleum companies that we do not want them down there.”

Wattle Range Council calls to block fracking in South East

South Eastern Times article March 2014 – Wattle Range Council calls to protect the South East’s water resources from the possible environmental impact of oil and gas exploration.

southeasterntimesmarch2014

Protecting landholders’ rights in South Australia

Speech by Penny Wright | Environment & Biodiversity / Resources, Mining & CSG on 6th March 2014

“With unconventional mining spreading its tentacles across Australia, it has been extremely heartening to see civil society come into action, with strong and diverse alliances across sectors and the community to protect what we know we must protect and to oppose the health, social, cultural and environmental threats that coalmining and unconventional gas mining pose.”

Click here to view and read the entire speech

pennywright

DONATIONS REVEALED FROM BEACH ENERGY AND SANTOS TO THE LIBERALS

MEDIA RELEASE  18th February 2014

DONATIONS REVEALED FROM BEACH ENERGY AND SANTOS TO THE LIBERALS

Don Pegler, Independent M.P. for Mount Gambier, has accessed public records that show large donations from Beach Energy to the Liberal Party, over the past 3 years. Don Pegler has  written to the Minerals and Resources Minister, Tom Koutsantonis, requesting for a moratorium on fracking unless proven safe.  He has extended this to say that no petroleum, geothermal or mining projects should be allowed on prime agricultural land South of Goyder’s Line until it is proven safe and the community believes it is safe.

Mr. Pegler has revealed that mining and petroleum companies have given substantial donations to the Liberal Party including Beach Energy Ltd. who have donated $121,300 to the Liberal Party over the past 3 financial years.  Santos has also donated $221,420 to the Liberal Party over the past 3 financial years.  Labor have received donations also from mining/petroleum companies over the past 3 financial years.

This has been revealed today, in the footsteps of the Liberal Party stating that they will promise a  Standing Committee of the Parliament for an inquiry into the sustainability of mining in the South East of South Australia, with the Liberal’s terms of reference.

People across the state, including lower Eyre Peninsula and Yorke Peninsula are concerned about the impacts of mining on their communities on prime cropping land.   Now the Limestone Coast community are banding together to stop unconventional gas, which includes shale oil, shale gas and tight gas, as well as mining of coal and other minerals.  Among their concerns are the impacts on the SE aquifers, contamination, tourism and health concerns. One shale exploration well near Penola has already commenced drilling.

Anne Daw, agricultural advocate and member of the Round Table of The Roadmap For Unconventional Gas Projects in South Australia has raised questions on how this Standing Committee will be formed.  A bill is required for an enquiry to be passed by both parties to support the enquiry.   A second bill needs to be passed to determine the committee.

The committee should be totally independent.  Anne wants to have input to the terms of reference for any parliamentary inquiry, including reliable witnesses from various fields, to be included from across Australia.  She will also be requesting that the committee visits areas of invasive gas fields in Queensland and also to visit affected areas of shale gas fields in the USA.  Both coal and shale projects impact communities.  The same environmental and health risks apply, whether it is shale or coal.

MEDIA CONTACTS  Anne Daw mob. 0435 030 998

Don Pegler, MP. mob. 0417 851 466   ph. 08 8724 9944