Let’s be gas field free

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Farmers and residents all over NSW are uniting to declare their streets, suburbs and farmlands as Gas-field free. Driving the movement are their shared interests in the economic activities of their neighbourhoods, extrinsically linked to the health of both their families and the land and the flow on effect to ground water supplies and property values.

Concerned residents have united into neighbourhood zones forming Gasfield Free groups, meeting to discuss the implications of coal seam gas exploration. The groups enable surrounding residents to make informed decisions, and boost community consultation.

The CSG exploration project at Gloucester has prompted door knocking in our region to inform residents, with approximately 70,000 people relying on water sources located downstream from Gloucester, including the Manning Valley.

Predominantly, the responses from residents is to support long term sustainable activities which strengthen the community and protect our assets. As reflected in previous issues of this publication, locals deeply value the area’s natural beauty, historical significance and potential for tourism to raise the profile of our area. We have fertile farmlands and a flourishing trade in producing high quality and niche produce as well as a revival in farmers markets in the region and consumers searching for fresh produce outside of chain stores.

The future of these endeavours as well as the popularity of the Manning Valley as a tourist destination is uncertain if our groundwater and rivers are polluted and damaged by exploration activities. We need to ask ourselves what activities are worth supporting that are best for our region for both short and long term benefits? What will support our community’s ‘heart and soul’ as referred to in May’s edition of The Manning Community News.

We choose to live and work here, and by allowing local businesses to thrive in an environment conducive to viable economic outcomes, we can provide jobs for generations to come without the need for our young people to move away. Let us be able to choose jobs that reflect what we love about the Manning Valley.

We need more people to be engaged in the gas-field free movement to safeguard the Manning Valley for all to enjoy for decades to come. The beginning point is to join your local neighbourhood group enabling you to make informed decisions that support our region’s future. Email midnorthcoastgfc@gmail.com or phone 042 1176 152 to link up with your neighbourhood group.

Aspen Charlesworth

Elands

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