Gasfield Free Mountain Districts campaign wins CEN “Best Community Organisation” award.

All the efforts of everyone involved in the road survey effort, the community meetings and everything else we’ve achieved thus far has been given the nod of approval and appreciation by the Coast Environment Network.

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Gasfield Free Mountain Districts Co-Convenor Simon Perry gratefully accepted the award on behalf of the group at the CEN BAT (Being A Team) awards night on Wednesday the 26th of November.

The award included a $200.00 cheque which has been added to the group’s “fighting fund” that is slowly building in anticipation of costs associated with the commissioning of permanent roadside signs, and also the holding of the community Gasfield Free Declaration (February 28th 2015).

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Gasfield Free Mountain Districts submission to the Your Future Central Coast 2031 Discussion Paper

The Gasfield Free Mountain Districts Committee recently provided a submission to the NSW Planning department’s discussion paper Your Future Central Coast 2031. Our submission focused on the question of the suitability of the CSG industry to the local area, and called upon the Department’s strategy for the District to include the declaration of the water catchments and aquifers as “no-go zones” for CSG.

Our declaration in full can be found here: CSG Submission for YFCC 2031

The next stage in the Department’s planning process is to develop a draft Regional Growth and Infrastructure Plan (RGIP), based upon both the contents of the initial Discussion Paper as well as the contents of all the various community submissions submitted in this round of consultation.

We expect from our submission to be provided the opportunity to further communicate the community’s views regarding CSG to the Department’s staff when the draft RGIP document is formulated and published.

The draft RGIP is due in about six months time.

400 Central Coast residents raise their hand in support of keeping CSG and coal mining off the Mountain

hands up for CSG free Central Coast

400 Central Coast residents packed out the Central Coast Grammar School hall on Thursday night (27/11) to learn about the risks posed by coal seam gas and coal mining to drinking water, local industries, nature and human health.

Gasfield Free Mountain Districts Co-convenor Simon Perry asked for a show of hands from the audience in support of the residents of the Mountain Districts and the community’s overwhelming desire to remain Gasfield Free. The result was a near unanimous raising of arms across the audience.

Local Anglican Church leader Father Rod Bower and Australian Actor Michael Caton kicked off a rousing program of speakers that included Kulnura local and expert on the aquifers Andrew Shirley and Julie Lyford (Chair – Groundswell Gloucester). Dayne Pratzky, feature of the soon to be released film Frackman described how he has been driven off his Tara property by CSG mining, and Jilliby local Alexia Martinez spoke on her concerns over coal mining.

The Central Coast is at the frontline of coal seam gas and coal mining issues with much of the Mountains District and drinking water catchment for the Central Coast is overlaid by AGL’s coal seam gas exploration license.

Speakers called on candidates from all political parties to take heed of the demands of local residents that the area be permanently protected from coal seam gas mining.

98.2% of Mountain Districts residents say “No to Coal Seam Gas”

98p2 Banner v2

Our survey results are in and the population of the Mountain Districts have overwhelmingly rejected the idea of CSG, calling for the water catchment, aquifer, farm land and the general local environment to remain Gasfield Free.

The MDA CSG campaign divided the area to be surveyed into three Local Government Areas. These are Cessnock, Gosford and Wyong. Cessnock includes Bucketty, Murray’s Run, Will-O-Wyn, Laguna and Murray’s Run. Gosford includes Mangrove Mountain, Central Mangrove, Lower Mangrove, Peats Ridge, Spencer, Gunderman, Mills Creek and Kulnura (in part). Wyong includes the suburb of Kulnura (in part).

Surveying began with Iron Bark Road, Mangrove Mountain in June 2014 and to date (October 29 2014) has completed most designated roads and properties. The following table details the number of individuals surveyed in each of the LGAs and the number and percentages of votes in each category (Yes to Gasfield free, Unsure and No). The mean for the three LGAs was 98.2% in favour of gasfield free in their areas, with 1221 individuals responding.

Congratulations to the survey teams for covering such a large area and making the commitment to cover as many individuals as possible.

Areas originally to be surveyed and the original estimates of the number of mailboxes were Calga (18), Central Mangrove (88), Glenworth Valley (5), Kulnura (198), Mangrove Creek (8), Mangrove Mountain (196), Peats Ridge (90), Spencer (178), Lower Mangrove (45) and Bucketty/Murrays Run (210).

Table 1. Survey results in LGAs of Gosford, Wyong and Cessnock for gasfield-free preferences.

LGA Area Coordinators # individuals responding Yes

%

Unsure

%

No

%

Cessnock Stu Wonson/Jason Gibbs 207 200

96.6%

3

1.4%

4

2%

Wyong Mick Gow 313 309

98.7%

0 4

1.3%

Gosford Poppe Zouridis/Lorraine Hawdon 701 690

98.4%

3

0.4%

8

1.1%

Total   1221 1199 6 16

 

Gasfield Free Mountain Districts submission to “Your Future Central Coast 2031” plan

The Central Coast Regional Office NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure have recently produced a discussion paper titled 2031 / Your Future Central Coast. The Discussion Paper focuses on areas important to supporting the projected addition of  64,250 people to the Central Coast by 2031 – housing, jobs, transport, infrastructure, natural resources (such as water supplies) and services, and the question of how we maintain the natural environment.

Our assessment of the focus of the planning is that it is very biased toward growth and an expansion of the extractive industries and there is no mention of how the rural lifestyle in the Mountain Districts will be preserved and enriched. The plan assumes the area will continue to be a source of fossil fuel mining including Coal Seam Gas for decades to come, a position at odds with calls from climate scientists for a rapid move to renewable energy sources.

We therefore undertook to send a submission in response to the discussion paper outlining the community’s views regarding Coal Seam Gas mining. Our submission is here, for your reference (PDF file).

The Mountain Districts Association also undertook to submit a response, which had a far broader scope than the Gasfield Free Mountain Districts submission – going beyond the question of CSG to also look at housing, roads, infrastructure and so on. The MDA’s response will be published on their website shortly.

The Department’s planning process allowed for a period of community consultation. This feedback will then inform the development of a new Regional Growth and Infrastructure Plan for the Central Coast. We are advised by the Dept. of Planning that the draft version of the RGIP will be out in approximately six months. We will also be commenting on that document when appropriate.

Public Forum – November 27th at Central Coast Grammar School

Momentum is building on the Coast to support a Gasfield Free Mountain District.

Date for the diary: the evening of November 27th there will be a big

community meeting being held at Central Coast Grammar School.

Come along to show the community that we don’t want CSG on the Mountain.

Very important – please spread this to ALL your coastie contacts!

RSVP here.

See you there!
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Coal Seam Gas is “a significant environmental issue”

Not us saying that, but rather NSW Environment Protection Agency CEO Barry Buffier.

In statements made to a NSW Parliamentary inquiry into the performance of the EPA Mr Buffier was challenged as to whether the the agency was spending too much time investigation the CSG industry when (according to Upper House Liberal MP Mr. Scot MacDonald) “the impact on the environment (of the CSG industry) by all accounts is very, very, very small”.

Mr Buffier stated that “my assessment is that yes (coal seam gas is a significant environmental issue). The evidence would indicate that it’s what happens with the produced water and the impact on the aquifers, which is likely to be an area where environmentally things could go wrong”

Read the report in the SMH here:
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/coal-seam-gas-concerns-valid-says-epa-chief-20141013-115913.html

..or see page 5 if you’re reading the paper today the good old tactile way.

God is on our side…

…or at least Father Rod Bower of the Anglican Church, Gosford is.

The Anglican Church in Mann Street Gosford is famous worldwide for the socially concious and sometimes provocative messages posted on the billboard outside the church. From supporting Gay Marriage to calling for humane treatment of asylum seekers to simply calling out Tony Abbott for being…well….Tony Abbott the church’s prominent billboard says it like it is.

Which is why we’re very pleased that today it says this:

Billboard SqIt is of course a nice play on words in a number of ways, but “Mary” in this case refers to Mary O’Kane (NSW Chief Scientist” who in her recently published Coal Seam Gas review stated that “Coal Seam Gas mining (can have) unintended consequences“.

We met with Fr. Rod Bower a couple of weeks ago to explain what was happening with the Gasfree Mountain Districts campaign and explain our concerns regarding CSG mining and the aquifer we all rely upon and share, as well as share with the coastal communities of the Central Coast. Fr. Rod agrees with us that the risks to the aquifer are too great and that we cannot afford for the destruction of the ground water to be an “unintended consequence” of CSG mining. He offered to help spread the word via his billboard.

The message above is the first of what should be a series of such messages from now through to March 2015 (the NSW State Election), part of our partnership with the Our Central Coast / Our Land, Our Water, Our Future campaign that we mentioned in our email news update last week. If you didn’t receive that email – make sure you subscribe for the next one using the link on the top right hand side of this website.

Leaders Listen forum

On the evening of Wednesday the 24th of September a Q&A session was hosted at The Central Coast Leagues Club (Gosford) titled “Leaders Listen“. Organised by the Central Coast Union Alliance the event was billed as an opportunity to ask questions of Mike Baird (NSW Liberal Premier), John Robertson (NSW Labor Leader), Dr. John Kaye (NSW Greens Party), Rev. Fred Nile (Christian Democratic Party), and Robert Borsak MLC – Shooters and Fishers Party NSW.

As it turned out here is who turned up to Listen to their constituents. Clockwise from top left we have An Empty Chair representing the Liberal Party (seems they had no Leader who wanted to Listen); John Robertson – NSW Labor Leader; Christian Democrats candidate for Newcastle Milton Caine (standing in for the Rev. Fred Nile); and Dr John Kaye – MLC for the Greens Party for the Central Coast.

The representative of the Shooters and Fishers party was also absent as he was apparently busy looking at a map of national parks, planning his next weekend away.

We were lucky enough to be picked to ask a question, which unfortunately we did not capture a recording of me asking. Our question was:

“My name is Simon Perry. Together with my friend and colleague John Edye I am co-convenor of a community group that represents all the residents of the Central Coast Mountain Districts and their concerns toward Coal Seam Gas mining. The Mountain Districts are within AGL’s PEL2. The Mountain Districts contain an aquifer tht supplies 50% of the water for the coast, and supports all of the area’s farming industry. We have advice that the aquifer would be placed at serious risk by Coal Seam Gas mining. The coast communities have been exempted from CSG, the Mountain Districts have not. My question is; what personal commitment will you give and what commitment will your party give to permanently protect the Central Coast Mountain Districts, and other communities like ours all across NSW from Coal Seam Gas mining?

This video (approx. 8 minute runtime) shows their respective responses.
– John Robertson’s response is first – after the question displays (skip 60 seconds in if you wish to get to the response)
– John Kayes is at about 2:55 mark
– Milton Caine starts at about 5:35.
– The Liberal Party’s empty chair didn’t have anything to say.

 

Information night in Gosford at The Rhythm Hut – October 2nd

Come along to an evening of information, film and discussion about the threat of coal and gas mining on the Central Coast – organised by our partners at the Coast Environment Network / Our Land, Our Water, Our Future, and hosted by The Rhythm Hut.

• Meet representatives of local groups who are fighting to keep coal and gas out of our water catchment, including the Gasfield Free Mountain Districts group.
• Watch the earth-shattering film Fractured Country: an Unconventional Invasion from Lock the Gate Alliance (Australia) about the risks to communities from invasive gasfields.
• Enjoy some food, drink and good company
• Sign on as a campaign supporter and take away information packs to share with your friends, neighbours, colleagues and loved ones.

When: Thursday 2nd October, 7-9:30pm
Where: The Rhythm Hut, 135 Faunce St Gosford
Who: You, and all your friends
Cost: Entry by gold coin donation (goes toward our hosts and campaign supporters The Rhythm Hut)
RSVP: 29th September

For more info, contact Danielle Coleman dcoleman@nature.org.au or Lou on 0420 682 258

Email: dcoleman@nature.org.au

https://www.facebook.com/events/762308123829371/