Thousands spell out opposition to coal seam gas

Photo: Michael O'Brien

More than 3000 people turned out to Austinmer beach in the Illawarra on May 29 to form a “STOP COAL SEAM GAS!” human sign.

Three helicopters, each from a big media outlet, circled above the cheering and waving crowd to film the historic event.

Check out all the pictures and media coverage by visiting Stop CSG Illawarra's website:

A big team of more than 40 volunteers from Stop CSG Illawarra helped make the day such a success.

There were people marking out the letters and walkways from 6.30am, marshals (for letters, words, walkways and counting protesters to fill each letter), stall staffers, barbeque organisers, photographers (in the chopper, on the ground, on the headland), media spokespeople, donations collectors, video documenters, internet uploaders and designers, entertainers and more.

Many people have congratulated the “superb” organisation of the event — this is all thanks to the wonderful team of volunteers.

The news footage, captured by WIN TV, Seven News and the ABC, was simply incredible.

The action was the front page feature of the May 30 Illawarra Mercury.

Photos have now been sent around the world via AAP.

After the photographs were taken, people enjoyed a mini-festival of barbeques, community stalls and entertainment. There was a real sense of community among the people present.

Thousands of dollars was raised from T-shirt sales and donations to assist the ongoing campaign.

About 2000 signatures were gathered on the day for a petition calling for a moratorium on CSG until the outcome of a Royal Commission, and a ban on fracking.

The crowd included a couple of politicians, Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham and ALP MLA for Keira Ryan Park, and celebrities Costa Georgiadis from SBS and actor David Field.

A crew of people in Byron Bay were so inspired by our idea they organised their own “No CSG” human sign with 3000 people.

Bryon Bay residents Ashley Thompson and Rebecca de Gail organised their protest with just one week’s notice. The Lismore Northern Star reported Thompson told the rally: “We want [PM Julia Gillard] to know that it’s war and we’re going to win it.”

After the Austinmer event, Stop CSG Illawarra spokesperson Jess Moore said: “The government forgot to ask this community what we think of coal seam gas. Today we told them in no uncertain terms.

“This community is standing together to ensure safe drinking water and food, the environment and our health. And we will not stop until we win. We have to. There's too much at stake.”

The next monthly meeting of Stop CSG Illawarra will take place on June 19 at 11am (check the group’s website for details of the venue).

A Stop CSG Illawarra benefit gig is planned for Friday July 1, 6pm at Austinmer’s Headlands Hotel. For more details about the gig, phone Enya on 0422 466 560.

If you like our work, become a supporter

Green Left is a vital social-change project and aims to make all content available online, without paywalls. With no corporate sponsors or advertising, we rely on support and donations from readers like you.

For just $5 per month get the Green Left digital edition in your inbox each week. For $10 per month get the above and the print edition delivered to your door. You can also add a donation to your support by choosing the solidarity option of $20 per month.

Freecall now on 1800 634 206 or follow the support link below to make a secure supporter payment or donation online.