DEDICATED: Call to Country supporters outside Janelle Saffin’s office last Friday.
DEDICATED: Call to Country supporters outside Janelle Saffin’s office last Friday.

People power ups the ante

ABOUT 130 people rallied outside Federal Member for Page Janelle Saffin's office on Friday to answer the Call To Country - an initiative by Lock The Gate to pressure parliamentarians to exert greater controls over the coal and coal seam gas industries.

Similar delegations, mobilising thousands of people, approached federal offices across the nation in a co-ordinated attempt to exert genuine political pressure over the issue.

Ian Gaillard, a Northern Rivers co-ordinator for Lock The Gate, stuck a document citing Call to Country's demands to Ms Saffin's door in her absence, and told the crowd that, among other things, Call to Country was demanding a moratorium on coal seam gas and other unconventional gas mining.

"It's an action that's happened all over Australia, every federal political office we could get to," he said.

"The purpose is to ask them to consider with the powers they have, to put a brake on this huge gas and coal rush all over the country that will leave us with a legacy that won't be able to be fixed."

Lock the Gate's website lockthegate.org.au/calltocountry, has a short film to drive home its message.

It features emotive interviews with indigenous leader Uncle Kevin, Lock the Gate president Drew Hutton, prominent musicians and Northern Rivers residents and Queensland and Hunter Valley farmers.

Mr Gaillard said the Federal Government's decision this week to enact stricter controls on coal seam gas mining was in no small part due to "people power being felt at the highest level".

"It's a good first step by government and does go some small way towards addressing the regulation of our underground water," he said.

"It also reflects the hard work of our local member. The Federal Government still needs to go further and we would hope that in this election year political bickering does not extend to our ecology, the basis of our economy."

"That's what the Call to Country is all about. We want action now and many people are prepared to put their bodies on the line to say no - to protect agricultural land, national tourism and all residential dwellings, not just the ones in the minister for Western Sydney's electorate or around Singo's horse stud or the vineyards where politicians go on junkets."


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