Chris Williams

Stop CSG Illawarra is preparing for another mass, community action on October 21. They plan to form a human sign at Bulli Showground that says “Protect H2O, Stop CSG”. The sign is part of Lock The Gate's national week of action.
More than 300 people surprised unionist and community legend Fred Moore on September 1, throwing him a huge 90th birthday party. Moore said it was the biggest surprise of his life when he walked into his local community centre hall in Dapto to find hundreds of people cheering his name. It took him several minutes to reach the front of the hall as he hugged nearly everyone on the way.
About 400 people rallied in Port Kembla on August 26 to oppose the privatisation of the port. In late July, the NSW government signed off on a recommendation to lease the port for 99 years. The government says 20% of the expected $500 million to be made from the lease will be spent on infrastructure projects in the Illawarra. Unions and the community opponents say they fear a commercial operator will put profits before people and jobs at the port.
More than 50% of counties in the United States are now officially designated “disaster” zones. The reason given in 90% of cases is due to the continent-wide drought that has been devastating crop production. Forty eight percent of the US corn crop is rated as “poor to very poor”, along with 37% of soy. Seventy three percent of cattle acreage is suffering drought, along with 66% of land given to the production of hay.
More than 500 people attended a public meeting at the Bulli Masonic Hall in the northern suburbs of Wollongong on July 29 to save the Bulli Hospital Emergency Department (ED). A PA had to be set up outside the packed hall so hundreds of people gathered outside could listen in. Residents are opposed to the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District's (ISLHD) proposal to downgrade the ED to an “urgent care centre”.
The Environmental Defender’s Office NSW has advised community group Illawarra Residents for Responsible Mining Inc in a court case that will test the legality of mining company Gujarat NRE’s decision to start longwall mining in its Russell Vale colliery earlier this year.
Stop CSG campaigners in the Illawarra are celebrating the NSW government’s confirmation that coal seam gas drilling cannot take place in the Illawarra at this time. Stop CSG Illawarra spokesperson Jess Moore told WIN TV News on June 25: “This is huge news and shows the power the Illawarra community has to affect change.”
Uncertainty and confusion now surround the Apex/Ormil coal seam gas (CSG) project in the Illawarra. The project includes 16 CSG wells scattered across two Petroleum Exploration Licences (PELs). But according to the project’s conditions, drilling and operation of the wells must take place within three years and before the expiry of one of two relevant licences, unless the director-general of the planning department steps in.
The Green Left Weekly fighting fund has received a huge boost over the last couple of weeks, thanks to the efforts of hard working supporters and volunteers around the country. So far this month, $24,600 has been sent in to the fighting fund, largely from successful fundraising events organised by our supporters. A huge thanks to everyone who helped organise and attend these wonderful events.
Sydney’s May 1 rally, called by the NSW Farmers Federation to “Protect our Land and Water” from coal seam gas (CSG) and irresponsible mining, represented an incredible diversity and unity from communities across NSW. Organisers said 8000-10,000 people took to the streets, making it easily the biggest action to stop CSG to date in Australia.
So far this year we've raised $36,811 for the Green Left Weekly Fighting Fund. This is a good effort, but well short of our running target. To reach our 2012 target of $250,000 we need to have raised about $80,000 by the end of this month.

Over 200 people attended a coal seam gas community forum in Oakdale on March 11, packing out the Workers’ Club. Local residents organised the meeting to tell the community about CSG development in their suburb.