This statement was released by Gasfield Free Seaspray on July 28.
A crowd of more than 600 hundred people came together in Seaspray today to celebrate the results of a survey that showed 98% of the community wants the area to remain gasfield free.
Event-organiser “Gasfield Free Seaspray” coordinated the formation of a huge human sign on the iconic 90-mile beach, spelling out the words “NO GASFIELDS”. The survey was prompted by huge unconventional gas extraction licences, owned by controversial mining company Lakes Oil, which cover the seaside farming community. In recent months Lakes Oil has commenced production testing for gas in the area, which has faced overwhelming community opposition.
With 98% of the community supporting their cause, organisers were still surprised by the show of support from their neighbours on the day.
“Today has just felt fantastic,” said Kirra Boulton, a local primary school teacher and group member. “This issue really had the power to divide our town, but instead it has united us. The message is clear: Seaspray has locked the gate on Lakes Oil.”
Boulton said her family had farmed in the area for generations, and that agriculture and mining were incompatible pursuits.
“Farming has provided for our community for almost a century – is it worth throwing all that away for a risky industry that will disrupt our way of life and has the potential to contaminate our precious land and water?”
The community also received support from further afield, with two-seater Jabiru plane flying from Sale to capture images of the human sign from the sky and people travelling from across the Gippsland region to participate in the event.
“We've been really overwhelmed by the support from our fellow Gippslanders,” said Boulton.
“People here understand that if Seaspray becomes a gasfield then this industry will gain a foothold and spread across the region.”
The crowds were also wowed with an appearance by Lock the Gate Alliance founder Drew Hutton who gave a rousing speech and travelled all the way from his Queensland base to attend the event.
“In Queensland we started too late. In New South Wales we got in just in time, and in Victoria we can stop these miners before they come,” he said, urging local farmers to lock their gates.
Ursula Alquier, Victorian co-coordinator of the Lock the Gate Alliance said: “Seaspray's message has been loud and clear today. This community doesn't want a gasfield, and they've united to show that together they can stop this industry in its tracks.”