Media Release – “bring on the gasfields” says tweed business chamber

Media Release


Lock the Tweed spokesperson Michael McNamara has challenged the Tweed Business Chamber to declare their position on Coal Seam Gas (or unconventional gas) mining in Tweed Shire after they came out in opposition to Tweed Shire Council’s plans to sign post the Tweed as Gasfield Free.

“The Tweed Business Chamber recently wrote to Council opposing the proposal to add signage designating the Tweed Shire as Gasfield Free at various entry points to the Shire and at local communities that have already declared themselves Gasfield Free” he said.

“Are they really saying to the Council, and the broader Tweed Shire community, that the members of the Tweed Business Chamber want Gasfields in the Tweed Shire?”

“I find this hard to believe when their Vice-President, Warren Polglase, as a Councillor actually moved the resolution at Council in 2011 for a moratorium”

“All this proposal of the Council does is to advertise the position that the Council has taken, at the urging of Cr Polglase”

“I hope he is not ashamed or embarrassed about actually taking a position that sits well with the community”

“I have to wonder whether this decision to oppose the signage taken at a general meeting of the Chamber?”

“They claim that this will put off business investors”

“This proposal by the Council actually supports the tourism and business development plans for Tweed Shire, given that all this planning is based on us being ‘clean and green’ and welcoming of innovation rather than more of the same old tired business models”

“The Tweed Business Chamber have just got this thing so wrong it is unbelievable that the decision was passed at a general meeting”

“Every time the Tweed Shire community have been asked they have nominated environmental protection as their top priority”

“If the Tweed Business Chamber want to have any credibility they need to ensure that they are reflecting the priorities and views, not just of their members, but also, of the community they serve”

“I have to question, based on the position they have taken on this issue, whether they are doing either”

Support needed at Leards Forest

From George Woods, NSW Co-ordinator for Lock the Gate Alliance:

Hello everyone,

Heart-wrenching time for the Maules Creek campaign, as bulldozers push their way into our beloved Leard State Forest. The silver lining that people are responding to the call to action and heading out to the forest this weekend and next week. Are you going to be one of them?

The blockade has another tree-sit up this morning, holding back the machines, but many more people are needed at this critical time. The team on the ground are making an extraordinary effort, working themselves to the bone to fight the clearing. I cannot praise their dedication, verve and generosity enough.

In better news, we have this morning witnessed an important shift in tone from the Government. Yesterday, the NSW Opposition and NSW Greens called for a halt to the clearing during the cold months, to protect wildlife that are in hibernation.

In the last couple of days, we’ve been asking questions about the Leard Mining Precinct Regional Biodiversity Strategy, which the three mines that are clearing the forest, Whitehaven’s Maules Creek and Tarrwonga and Idemitsu’s Boggabri, are supposed to be undertaking together. It’s a condition of Maules Creek’s NSW consent that they submit this plan by January this year, and we started asking: where is it? Are they in breach? As it turns out, the Department of Planing and environment has given them a twelve month extension on the plan. Disgusting, I know, but the good news is this: when Sydney Morning Herald asked Rob Stokes about it, he said the Govt is “running out of patience” with Whitehaven.

I know that hundreds of you have called Rob Stokes or sent him emails in the last week. Thank you for that, from everyone at the Leard Forest Alliance.

This campaign is a dark slog, so a minor change in tone, where the Government starts to distance itself from the company, could be the thin end of the wedge we have been desperately seeking. If you can’t come out, don’t let up the pressure. Drive the wedge in further and keep calling him and Pru Goward, and asking them to act.

But all of our just arguments, and our technical scientific and legal knowledge, needs Bentley-scale people power to swing behind it… and I hope to see many of you at Camp Wando soon, to be part of this historic moment, one way or another.



“Gasfield Free” Signs for Tweed Shire?

If you live in Tweed Shire you can have your say on Tweed Shire Council’s proposal to erect “Gasfield Free” signage at the entries to the Shire and at local communities that have declared themselves Gasfield Free.

This is a great opportunity for the Council to continue its strong stand against the unconventional gas industry being developed in the Northern Rivers.

Read about the Council’s proposal and the history of their involvement at their web page:

You can also have your say at the Tweed Shire Council stall at World Environment Day celebrations in Murwillumbah on Sunday 1 June in Knox Park from 10am – 3pm.

There is also an online poll attached to the Daily News story about this proposal.


BIG win at Bentley

Northern Rivers communities have had a big win at Bentley.

The NSW government caved in to the massive community pressure to suspend Metgasco’s approval to drill at Bentley.

This is a great win for communities but is not the end of the campaign.

There are still active exploration licences in the Northern Rivers.

Santos are active in The Pilliga.

AGL is planning to frack in the Gloucester Valley.

Other communities need our support.


Bentley Blockade Update – 1 April


Yesterday came and went … and no Metgasco or Police!

2,000 protectors gathered at the gates at Bentley to defend the Northern Rivers from the Gasfield Invasion planned by Metgasco.

Today the numbers held and again … no Metgasco and no Police.

Maybe they are waiting until we get tired of the game? What they don’t seem to get is that, for us, it is not a game!

Photos and videos are all over FaceBook and Twitter. Go look.

As the protectors arrived the Metgasco share price fell.

Yesterday it had dropped to close at 9.4 cents. By this afternoon it closed at 9.3 cents!

When are they going to learn??? Every time they start a drilling project their share price drops.

Bentley Blockade update – Sunday 30/3/14

Update at 1345, Sunday 30 March (Thanks to Gasfield Free Byron Bay)

Camp was prepared for police action this morning but it didn’t happen. Everyone is still totally encouraged to come today for likely action early tomorrow or possibly Tuesday as well as for today’s concert.

Nan Nicholson describes the general feeling among the Bentley village residents as outrage. They are more understanding that the one exploratory well is just the thin end of a wedge, and the totality of a gasfield is something far far bigger and with huge impact. They were told a half-truth by Metgasco about natural gas, and led to believe that fracking would not be involved, but Metgasco is also looking for tight gas, which would have to be fracked. The farmer whose land Metgasco is on, Robbie Graham, was specifically misled to expect a single well and no social objections! The farmer whose land the camp “Liberty” is on, Mr Scarabelotti, has experienced of the gasfield round Roma, QLD, and is now totally opposed to them. In general terms the public has been misled particularly re jobs, how many gained short-term by non-locals, how many lost permanently by locals.

The road from Lismore is open as of 1330. If you do find it blocked camp requests that you stay where you are stopped rather than turn around and leave. Just camp along the road. Or, try the Naughton’s Gap Road from Casino.

Sunday Events –   Gigs not Rigs concert is still happening at Bentley Hall. Should be started by now.

At the camp – Bring gumboots! Not raining now, but has been. Lots of people, solid, strong…. Exact figures not available. Beautiful sunrise this morning.

What to bring – Milk, Tea(s) and Coffee particularly welcome always at camp kithen. Otherwise, be independent, ie have your own food, possibly something for the camp kitchen also, but don’t put extra pressure on it. Maybe bring food/drink treats for people who’ve been there a long time. Also bring water, be equipped for sun or rain, first aid kit, rubbish bags, etc.

Please be very careful not to leave rubbish on the ground of any sort, including organic. It always looks bad (could be filmed by media), and may antagonise the host farmer who usually has cows out there, which could get sick from eating discarded trash.

The road is a public road and it’s not illegal to go to the campsite or Gate A in any way unless the police stop you and give a directive. If they do block the road they can’t do that for weeks, and the campaign will continue. It’s not the end of anything if Metgasco and the riot squad have their wicked way in the next day or two.

If in doubt about the road or conditions at camp, call the camp phone 0477 263 137

Twitter: hashtag bentleyblockade /

Facebook pages:  Gasfield Free Byron Shire / Byron For Bentley / Gigs Not Rigs / Ride For Gasfield Free Northern Rivers / Gasfield Free Northern Rivers

Storm brews at Bentley




This is was the scene at the protectors camp at Bentley, in the Northern Rivers between Lismore and Casino, late yesterday afternoon.

Metgasco plan to drill an exploration well for what they describe as “conventional gas”. The problem in this is that they have identified a potential 24 million units of gas, only 2 million of which might be described as conventional.

Make no mistake about it – this plan by Metgasco marks the beginning (if they have their way) of a massive industrialised gasfield in this rural area.

Northern Rivers communities, many of which have declared their opposition at rates in excess of 95% are ready for a fight. People were rolling in to the protectors’ camp last night. The camp is situated on an adjoining property.

The camp copped the edges of a big storm yesterday afternoon. There was lots of wind but not much else.

There was certainly nothing in it for the farmers – much like CSG!

Bank Divestment Action – Name and Shame ANZ

Its time to “Name and Shame” those who finance the destruction of our land, water and environment through coal and unconventional gas developments.

ANZ is a major funder of coal and gas projects across Australia, including coal ports and gas processing plants that are destroying the Great Barrier Reef.

They are also providing funding to Whitehaven Coal to rip the heart out of rural NSW in Leard State Forest near Boggabri.

Join us outside the ANZ Bank branch in Murwillumbah on Tuesday 21 January at 9am to make our voices heard – to “name and shame” ANZ.

ANZ Poster