THE Lock The Gate Alliance yesterday confronted federal MPs in what they say is a Call to Country election campaign over the mining of agricultural land.
In Tamworth, member for New England Tony Windsor had a visit from some regional alliance supporters, who handed him a copy of the Call to Country with a list of what they want the federal government to do in relation to coal seam gas and coal mining. More than anything, they want more research and better policies and laws governing mining companies and what land can be mined.
Lock The Gate’s Phil Spark said it seemed as though the country was being run by mining companies, not the government.
Mr Spark said visits to federal MPs should have got their attention ahead of the federal election, and that the campaign might be extended to state MPs too.
“There has been rampant development at any cost,” he said.
The group will also encourage towns to get as many signatures as they can (100 per cent, preferably) for coal seam gas-free communities.
“It’s a lot of time and leg work, but it sends a very strong message,” Mr Spark said.
Mr Windsor said the coal seam gas-free signings were powerful documents, politically, because no government would approve a mine in an area where every resident was opposed to it.
Decisions needed to be based on risk and science and the objectivity that came with it, when deciding whether to approve mining in certain areas, he said.
“Then don’t go there, or go there last and not first,” Mr Windsor said.
He said community debate had stopped every application to mine land from being approved.
Lock The Gate supporters visited member for Parkes Mark Coulton at the Boggabri MAC Village and handed him a copy of Call to Country as part of their national day of action.
“There have been near-unanimous votes against coal seam gas in communities throughout the Parkes electorate, but Mark Coulton is still toeing the party line,” Front Line Action on Coal spokesman Jonathan Moylan said.