News

Anti-CSG activists block access to Bentley farmer's property

A protester stands in protest against CSG mining in Bentley.
A protester stands in protest against CSG mining in Bentley. Patrick Gorbunovs

THE BENTLEY dairy farmers on whose land Metgasco will drill next month say gasfields activists have adopted extreme tactics in constructing a "war barrier" blocking access to their property.

Father and son dairy farmers Robert and Peter Graham, the latter a former Lismore councillor, run a herd of limousin cattle on the property.

Relations between the Grahams and protesters have strained in recent weeks as tensions rise over the imminent drilling.

At the weekend an unknown group built a blockade across the Grahams' driveway from star pickets with steel spikes welded to the end, splayed in several directions.

The spikes had been covered in PVC piping yesterday, but Peter Graham said they were dangerous, describing the structure as a "wartime barrier".

"Any one of those (protesters) could fall and spike themselves," he said.

"What worries me is what's next. I don't want it to be a war."

Bentley farmer Peter Graham. photo Patrick Gorbunovs / The Northern Star
Bentley farmer Peter Graham. photo Patrick Gorbunovs / The Northern Star Patrick Gorbunovs

The newly formed Front Line Against Gas group, which spokeswoman Ruth Rosenhek said was made up of protesters "on the ground" at Bentley, refused to take responsibility for the installation.

But Ms Rosenhek said it was "obviously a delay tactic" to hamper grading work needed on the steep driveway into the site before the drill truck could gain access.

"This is obviously the entrance to the drill site and protesters are trying to slow things down," she said.

A permanent vigil tent manned by protesters is set up on the narrow strip of public land between Bentley Rd and the property.

Ms Rosenhek said "safety was paramount".

"To me the road is much more unsafe than anything happening here on the driveway," she said.

The entrance to the planned drill is not used by the Grahams on a regular basis, but Mr Graham said they had also encountered issues entering the main gate, which they use several times a week.

"We've removed five padlocks on two gates, we've broken welds on two gates, we've removed rubbish and barricades from two gates," he said.

Local farmer Robert Graham on his Bentley property where drilling will be conducted. Photo Patrick Gorbunovs / The Northern Star
Local farmer Robert Graham on his Bentley property where drilling will be conducted. Photo Patrick Gorbunovs / The Northern Star Patrick Gorbunovs

CSG health impacts uncertain, say researchers

RESEARCHERS in the Medical Journal of Australia argue the uncertainties over health impacts from unconventional gas should be a factor in checking the industry's growth.

The medical report "Harms unknown: health uncertainties cast doubt on the role of unconventional gas in Australia's energy future" argued that wastewater could pose a greater health harm than fracking fluids.

It also argued the potential health burdens of unconventional gas were likely to fall disproportionately on rural communities, the young and the elderly.

Meanwhile, in the state's north west...

TENSIONS are rising at a coal seam gas exploration site in the NSW north-west where an elderly farmer who strapped himself to a drill rig, is refusing to budge.

Dry land farmer and grazier Ted Borowski, who owns a property north of Coonamble, believes the future of the region's farming industry is under threat if the proposed Narrabri Gas Project goes ahead.

The 58-year-old successfully brought a convoy of four trucks carrying a coal seam gas drill rig through the Pilliga Forest to a halt yesterday morning.

His protest action comes after Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner confirmed he would support the fast-tracking of the Santos-backed project.

"If gasfields invade the NSW north-west, it will destroy our water, damage our land and ultimately destroy our ability for a future in farming and food production for the next generation," Mr Borowski said

Negotiations with Mr Borowski, who had attached himself to the rig with metal piping, were continuing late yesterday.

Topics:  coal seam gas, csg, farming, metgasco




Fatal crash babysitter fights to get licence back

Courteney Matthews at her last court appearance at Casino Local Court.

Teenage driver asks court to reinstate her licence

Iconic nude beach 'overrun' by sexual behaviour

Stunning North Coast beach overrun with "sex focus and harassment"

Young dad killed in tragic accident 'dedicated to community'

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up for the family of Shane, 34, who died in a tragic machinery accident earlier this year.

"Shane was only 34 years old, and he loved his family dearly"

Latest deals and offers

The Bachelor wash up: bacon, plank offs and that white rose

Richie Strahan, second from left, with bachelorettes Eliza, Faith, Noni and Janey in a scene from episode one of the fourth season of The Bachelor.

RICHIE Strahan meets some beautiful, and colourful, bachelorettes.

The Bachelor: Vinteaea tells why she had to walk out

Vintaea Carlos was one of 22 "bachelorettes" looking for love on the fourth season of The Bachelor.

Queensland beauty leaves Richie at rose ceremony.

Amber Heard claims Johnny Depp is stalling divorce

Amber Heard claims Johnny Depp is delaying their divorce

MasterChef winner cheered on by family in Grafton

BIG CHEER: Carlie Slattery (top right) with her husband Madison and kids Ashton, Eva and baby Milla celebrate Carlie's cousin Elena's win in MasterChef last night.

Carlie gets behind her cousin's MasterChef win

The Bachelor host: this year's season is a cracker

The Bachelor host Osher Gunsberg.

GUNSBERG says tonight will be "the best night of TV of the year".

Sassy duo unveils Album Deux

RETURN: Baby et Lulu will be playing at the Byron Theatre.

Album Deux is Australian duo Baby Et Lulu’s latest release

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

Massive residential 9-storey high-rise hit by delays

An artist’s impression of the eight-storey-high apartment complex that Bernoth Holdings wants to build in South Toowoomba, next to the City Golf Club.

Developer struggles to get approved high-rise development started