Over 400 residents of the Mountain Districts and the Central Coast joined together on Saturday the 28th (Feb) to declare the Mountain Districts communities Gasfield Free.
SMH journalist and former rugby player Peter FitzSimons and Cr. Greg Best (Wyong) spoke in support of the community’s intent to keep the coal seam gas industry out of the area’s water catchment and aquifers.
During the event, held at Neills Park in Kulnura, declaration documents were handed through the assembled crowd until they reached community elders Ed Morris and Betty Bromfield, before being then handed to youth ambassadors Leilani Healey and Jake Bright.
Gasfield Free Mountain Districts co-convenor Simon Perry said, “Residents of the Mountain Districts recognise that we have an inter-generational responsibility for the stewardship of this land and our water. The passing of the declaration statement through everyone’s hands, to our respected elders and onto our area’s young ambassadors represents this shared responsibility.”
The Gasfield Free Mountain Districts Declaration states:
“We, the Residents of the Mountain Districts Declare this district is Gasfield Free. We recognise that our districts are protected by the will of the community. We made this decision through community consultation and engagement. We recognise that our best defence is by standing together. If we detect any activity by gas companies here, we will raise an alert and ask their representatives to leave. We are committed to stopping gasfield industrialisation in our communities. In doing this we protect our water, soil, air and future. We will protect our communities from the destructive impacts of the coal seam gas industry.”
“Thank you to everyone who came to the event from the area, including Cr. Hillary Morris, Cr. Gabby Bowles, Greens Candidate Kate de Costa and Labor candidate Kathy Smith.”, said Mr. Perry. “With the NSW State election now just a few weeks away it is time for all standing candidates to take heed of the wishes of the community and if elected support legislation that permanently protects our aquifers, water catchments, farms and areas of environmental importance.”
The Declaration ceremony reiterates the united will of the community against coal seam gas, after a house-to-house survey conducted during 2014 found that 98.2% of the area’s residents oppose coal seam gas activity. Recently both Wyong and Gosford councils unanimously passed twinned resolutions reaffirming the respective council’s stance against coal seam gas, and standing in support of the Mountain Districts’ residents.