CSG-free communities at Numulgi

PEOPLE POWER: Residents of Numulgi vote to declare the area CSG mining free.
PEOPLE POWER: Residents of Numulgi vote to declare the area CSG mining free.

LAST weekend, residents of Numulgi and Bexhill took the first steps towards declaring the area a CSG mining-free community.

Sixty community members gathered in Numulgi Hall to hear about the effects CSG mining has had on other communities.

Co-ordinator of the CSG-free communities movement in the Northern Rivers, Annie Kia, addressed the crowd and said that in the Numulgi and Bexhill area, coal seam gas was situated just 200m below the ground surface, making it easy for the miners to drill down to.

"In Keerong, the coal seam gas is 300m from the surface and there's already a capped well there," Ms Kia said.

"Arrow Energy and Shell own the rights to resources here in Numulgi and its flat land, which the companies prefer. It makes it easier for them to build their drill pads and to connect the pipes... It's a deceptive industry. They start in an easy place, then the gas runs out and they need more wells, more pipes, more roads and an industrial landscape is born."

Victoria Finlay, one of the organisers of the Numulgi meeting, said a number of local farmers had already been approached by Arrow Energy and offered money for exploration rights on their properties.

"One landholder on Numulgi Rd was approached twice," Victoria said.

"The second time they offered him more money but he told them he wasn't interested. We know that landowners on Cosy Camp Rd and Corndale Rd have also been approached, but they too have refused."

Ms Kia said while locking the gate and the roads does not have any legal clout, it is an "effective social movement" and putting up Lock the Gate signs does dissuade the mining companies.

"They don't want to go into court arbitration with landowners and be seen as forcing farmers into having wells on their land," Ms Kia said.

"The gas field free movement is racing across the Northern Rivers. Now two thirds of the Lismore Council area is saying there is no social licence for this. We want licences here in the Northern Rivers revoked - CSG mining its too risky. Lock the gate, lock the road, communicate with and support your neighbours."

If community members spot a mining rig in their area, they can call Rig Watch on 6629 3242, 0427 213 528 or 0427 302 725.

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