THREE communities in North West NSW have declared themselves CSG-free with Bundella being the latest to take action last night.
Bellata and Mullaley have already had a majority of their residents sign a survey to say they wanted to be gasfield free.
Last night Bundella presented their residents with the results of their gasfield-free survey, which showed 97 per cent answered yes to the question “Do you want your land or road gasfield free?”
The survey was distributed after a community meeting on January 6 with 70 per cent of the community in attendance, and all answering that they wanted their community to be gas free.
Community spokeswoman Megan Kuhn said this result celebrated the strength and support for one another in what is becoming a really critical issue.
“If people don’t want to participate, they’ve not been forced to and it’s only been
an absolute minority who haven’t wanted to be involved. People are very well-informed and they will not be tricked into believing what the coal seam gas companies say. They know they’ve been wronged by state government and by the coal seam gas industry.”
Mrs Kuhn said the issue had caused anxiety and fear in the community as people worried about what coal seam gas would do to their water, property values and health.
“When we held our meeting and held our results meeting with the people involved with the co-ordination of the survey, everyone just had a sense of relief that we were so united,” she said.
“What this has done, it’s reopened a lot of the communication in our community. We are 100km from Gunnedah and Quirindi and we rely on our community and the coal seam gas companies were trying to divide us, but this has given us the strength to stand together and they will know they’re not welcome here.”
Mrs Kuhn said more communities would be conducting these surveys to send a clear message to coal seam gas companies and governments.
Community information meetings are being held across the region over the next couple of weeks, where they are expected to start the process of becoming CSG-free communities.
Towns, including Moree and surrounding communities, are expected to be involved in this process next.
While these surveys have no legal standing, member for New England Tony Windsor said they were very powerful in a political sense.