Large rally declares Lismore gas free

November 7, 2014
Lismore rally on November 1 to declare the region gasfield free. Photo: Gasfield Free Northern Rivers/FB

About 8000 people from across NSW’s Northern Rivers region gathered in Lismore on November 1 for a rally to declare the region gasfield free.

Protesters marched through Lismore CBD to demand the government cancel all petroleum licences in the region.

It then officially launched four large signs at each of the roads leading into the region, proclaiming: "Gasfield Free Northern Rivers – protected by community.”

Organiser Elly Bird said: "This community is saying loud and clear that they want full cancellation of the licenses across the region, and nothing less will serve.

“Today’s event makes it very clear that opposition to invasive gasfields in the region is not going away.”

In May, the government suspended the licence of unconventional gas company Metgasco at Bentley because of a lack of “genuine and effective" community consultation. It came after a months-long community blockade that involved thousands of protesters.

Residents say they are concerned about the risks gas mining poses to water, farmlands and human health.

Metgasco has taken the NSW government to court over the suspension, saying it was unlawful and that the company had undertaken consultation.
Mayor of Lismore City Council Jenny Dowell said the rally was “our chance to send a strong message to governments and candidates before the March election.”

"Our communities do not want unconventional mining here - not now, not ever,” she said. “So mining companies may as well pack up and leave. We call on the state government to cancel the gas licences.”

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