1000 people pack convention centre to stop coal & coal seam gas

After the forum, the audience marched through the city's streets to the Queensland government’s Executive Building. Photo: Ewa

About 1000 people attended a food security forum in the Brisbane Convention Centre on March 12 to defend agricultural land and water against mining for coal and coal seam gas (CSG). The forum, chaired by controversial radio broadcaster Alan Jones, was organised by the Lock the Gate Alliance and GetUp!

Country singer Lee Kernaghan, who is passionately opposed to the destruction of Australian bushland by the mining industry, opened and closed the forum with music.

The forum featured five women farmers in the frontline of the battle with the resources sector in Queensland: Ruth Armstrong, cotton and grain farmer from Cecil Plains; Tanya Plant, a farmer who lives next to the highly polluting New Hope coalmine at Acland; Katie Lloyd, a cattle farmer from Chinchilla who has had to live for several years with more than 20 gas wells on her property; Debbi Orr, from the Tara residential estate, near Dalby, who is forced to live next to a coal seam gas field; and Heidi Ross, a resident of the Kerry Valley, in the Scenic Rim, who presented an open letter to Arrow Energy denouncing the recent actions of the company and police in attacking peaceful anti-coal seam gas demonstrators.

"The land is ours. We will resist," Ross said. "We will lock the gate and block the gate until CSG is proven safe.”

Libby Connors from the Queensland Greens told the meeting: "We are building a movement that is being watched around the world."

Following the forum, the audience gathered outside the convention centre and marched through the city's streets to the Queensland government’s Executive Building.