The nitty-gritty process of starting to survey our communities started last night with a training session for the co-ordinators for our survey volunteer teams. All up we have just over 80 survey volunteers, including members of the Anti CSG organising committee. To help keep everything on track, and to help us scale we have asked for some of the broader set of surveyors to nominate themselves as precinct co-ordinators (which we’ll call ‘PCs’ to save some typing). The PCs will each take a survey territory, then organise their respective teams of surveyers to do the actual doorknock, and then get the results and any funds raised back to the committee. Funds will be raised through the sales of CSG DVDs, Lock the Gate signs and donations (we’re covering our costs for the DVDs and the LtG signs which the committee buys from the Lock the Gate Alliance).
Last night at Kulnura Hall Anti-CSG committee convener John Edye explained the rationale and process behind the survey: to accurately gauge whether the community wishes to remain Gasfield Free. Hundreds of other rural communities like ours throughout Australia have undertaken similar surveys and have subsequently declared their overwhelming desire to remain Gasfield Free.
When the overwhelming majority of a community says “No” to coal seam gas mining in their districts gas mining companies know they’ll face extremely strong resistance from landholders when they start trying to negotiate access agreements. The end result is that the gas companies back down.
Meeting attendees heard from seasoned doorknocker Kate de Costa on how what to expect, how to be successful, and how best to approach households. Several attendees who had taken part in the survey of Ironbark Road emphasised how welcoming residents had been to their entreaties. Kate recommended teams of two surveyors people, suggesting that two men together would probably be less effective as unfortunately some people may be intimidated to see two burly strangers armed with clipboards and yellow plastic triangles arriving on the doorstep. Kate also stated that the only thing to fear about the survey effort is the likelihood of being offered an uncomfortable number of cups of tea!
John Edye also gave a tutorial on the differences between conventional gas extraction and the extraction of so called “tight gas”, of which coal seam gas is one type. “Tight gas” is bound within the rock and mineral strata due to the low permeability of the rock and by hydraulic pressure and will not flow to the gas well head without the pressure being reduced (by pumping out the water), and in some cases by fracturing (a.ka. “fracking”) the surrounding rock layers. The geology of the Mountain District will not require fracking, however it will require pumping out of subsurface water; drawing down the valuable aquifer that we rely on for our farming industry and local environment.
Survey volunteers will mobilise over the coming months, with residents being advised of an impending road survey through a letter box drop of a Survey Flyer. Please note that on the back of the flyer that will be delivered there is a considerable amount of information for your reference concerning coal seam gas.
So that residents can identify surveyors everyone has been provided with a yellow identification badge. So please welcome us over the coming months to your doorstep and let us know whether you wish your community to remain Gasfield Free.
If you would like to join us and can help survey within your own area, or nearby please email us and let us know.