Tuesday, 3 March 2015
Letter to the Editor in The Daily Examiner, 27 February 2015:
Election and gasfield
The State Election is fast approaching. On March 28 we go to the polls again to cast our vote to decide who will run the State of NSW for the next four years.
In the Northern Rivers, the biggest political issue over the past four years has been the threat of industrialisation and destructive and polluting activities which inevitably accompany invasive gasfields.
We have fought to save our region - at Glenugie and Doubtful Creek and then at Bentley. The famous Bentley Blockade resulted in the suspension of Metgasco's exploration licence which was to allow drilling to a depth of 2.1km through the soils, rocks and aquifers of this beautiful and productive valley, so typical of the Northern Rivers.
It was the pressure exerted by the community on the NSW Liberal National Government which caused them to suspend activity. It was not an act of benevolence on the part of the NSW Government- without people-power the drilling rig would have moved in.
Over 95% of people in the Northern Rivers do not want to live in a gasfield. Tourism and primary industries in our region will suffer irreparable damage and our properties will become devalued and unsalable - who would buy a house in or near a gasfield?
Now is our chance once again to have our voices heard loud and clear - in NSW we have a system of Optional Preferential voting.
Under this system, numbering one box is permitted. However, there is a very good reason why this is not a good choice. If you do number only one box and your choice of candidate does not receive 50% + one of the total votes in the first count, your vote is "exhausted'" and you have, in effect, wasted your vote.
To ensure that your vote counts, you must number every box.
You do not have to follow the how to vote card of any political party or independent candidate.
You are the one who is allocating preferences. Your preferences are the ones that matter.
Who you vote for on election day is, of course, your personal choice. However, to vote for a gasfield-free Northern Rivers, you will need to give your LAST preference to the party who is least supportive of the community's clearly expressed wishes to remain gasfield free.
We want a gasfield ban, not a gas plan!