ANOTHER North West community has publicly declared it does not welcome coal seam gas.
More than 55,000 hectares around Wandobah, near Gunnedah, has joined 2.6 million hectares across the North West, mostly surrounding the Pilliga, and more than three million hectares in Australia of prime agricultural land in being officially declared gasfield free.
The Wandobah community’s survey found more than 94 per cent of residents did not want to live in a gasfield and yesterday they declared the community free of gasfields.
The declaration was marked with an official ceremony at a hut in the Goran State Forest that, according to local folklore, was used by bush poet and writer Banjo Paterson more than a century ago.
Lock the Gate north-west NSW regional co-ordinator Megan Kuhn said it was fitting that the ceremony take place at the hut.
“Banjo Patterson would turn in his grave if he could see the damage to land, water, country and community that
the unconventional gas invasion is wreaking across rural Australia,” she said.
“The community of Wandobah is fighting back against the invasion with a public declaration that the gas industry is not welcome here.”
Wandobah resident Kelly Sumner said she feared for the future of her district with Santos already planning to set up a workers camp in the forest near the historic hut.
“My husband and I had wanted to buy a property in Wandobah because we love the area but now we aren’t so sure because we don’t want to bring up a family in the middle of a gasfield,” she said.
Local farmers and graziers Rob and Judy Frend said they feared for the future of agriculture in the region if the area became a gasfield.
“The promise of short term monetary windfalls should not outweigh possible long term consequences,” Mr Frend said.