Thursday, 26 March 2015
The Daily Examiner 23 March 2015:
THE people of Yamba have spoken, with more than 87% of households saying yes to a gasfield-free future.
At an anti-CSG declaration at the Yamba River Markets yesterday morning, state election candidates for the seat of Clarence, Trent Gilbert, Janet Cavanagh, Debrah Novak and Bryan Robins, spoke publicly on their stance on the issue amid heavy rain.
Co-ordinator Dave Irving said that the downpour hampered entertainment and plans to make a human sign, it was not enough to keep people from turning out to support a declaration.
The move was the culmination of a year of planning, doorknocking and collating results which will be presented to Clarence Valley Council in the next few weeks.
During the project, volunteers surveyed 1501 households, with one respondent for each household.
Sixty-four respondents said they would welcome the coal seam gas industry, and 116 were not sure.
The remaining 1321, equating to 87.8% of those asked, said they did not support the introduction of the industry to the area.
As well as asking individual households if they wanted their land and roads to be gas-free, the question of whether they wanted their neighbourhood to be coal free was raised.
Just over 85% of respondents said they wanted to be coal free, with 8% not sure.
Eighty-nine people, representing 6.1% of those interviewed said they did not want Yamba to remain coal-free.
Mr Irving said concerns about coal came from a Regional Development Australia proposal to turn Yamba into a coal port.
"We don't want to be alarmist about it, because we have absolutely no idea of the viability of that, but as a proactive measure we decided to enter that question in there," he said.
The announcement comes a week after Iluka presented its own 91% gas-field free declaration to Clarence Valley councillor Sue Hughes, and Mr Irving said the movement was growing.
"I think people have been empowered by CSG movement, because they feel they can get up and have a say," Mr Irving said.
"If there wasn't opposition and it wasn't as broad as it is, it would be knocking on our front door already.
"The CSG movement has proven that we can make a difference, and hopefully people can take that confidence and apply it to other areas, whatever their concerns may be."