News

Activism leader: Bentley Blockade will go down in history

The Bentley Blockade. Photo : Mireille Merlet-Shaw/The Northern Star
The Bentley Blockade. Photo : Mireille Merlet-Shaw/The Northern Star Mireille Merlet-Shaw

WITH the departure of Metgasco from the region, the Bentley blockade will assume a permanent place in the history books, according to activism academic and gasfields free organiser Aidan Ricketts.

Mr Ricketts, who is writing his PhD on the gasfields free movement said the now famous blockade had achieved several "firsts" in protest history.

One was the fact a state government fully prepared to send 800 police to the region and then backed down - before breaking the blockade.

"That's extraordinary," Mr Ricketts said.

"It's usually a point of honour that they will breach the protest and then back down."

Bentley was also unprecedented because unlike the famous Franklin dam blockade in Tasmania and the Daintree in Far North Queensland, it wasn't led by a small group of hardened protesters but a "whole region". That was crucial.

Because of this, basic planning tasks like catering, setting up a temporary headquarters (in the Bentley RFS shed), and finding accommodation proved an obstacle for NSW Police.

"They're all things that showed the entire community just wasn't onside - I don't think we've ever seen that before in Australia," Mr Ricketts said.

"(The opposition) was mainstream, supported by local government, and was big and getting bigger.

"It was like bringing the Americans into Vietnam. It was going to be a quagmire."

Due to the huge community support, freedom of information-obtained government documents had ranked the Bentley blockade as having a "catastrophic" litigation risk.

But there's also no doubt the 2015 State Government election results for the North Coast Nationals showed a perilous future if the government continued to back the industry.

Lismore MP Thomas George came within a whisker of losing his seat, despite promising a whopping $180 million to finish the upgrade of Lismore Base Hospital

Inside the National Party, there was "impossible pressure" on the North Coast Nationals with the loss of a seat in Ballina an internal split within the rank-and-file membership emerging.

In a statement, North Coast Nationals Upper House member Ben Franklin said the March election was "certainly a major catalyst" for change.

"I am at heart a democrat and I believe that when a community speaks as loudly as the Northern Rivers have on CSG, it is incumbent on their representatives to act," he said.

Topics:  bentley blockade, coal seam gas, csg, metgasco



More Northern River schools needed to be counted in

John Foreman and Jay Laga'aia at a songwriting workshop earlier this year.

Music - Count Us In will be held in November

Woman in hospital after car rollover on Pacific Highway

A car rollover is affecting traffic on the Pacific Highway.

A woman involved in highway rollover has been taken to hospital

Why Chris Hemsworth was spotted wearing nail polish

RED CARPET: Do you think Chris Hemsworth is the typical unpolished but well-natured Aussie bloke?

He's now officially the best bloke in Australia

Local Partners

From purr to a roar, Meow Meow is not kitten

ANYTHING IS PAWSIBLE: Acclaimed cabaret star Meow Meow returns to Lismore.

Anything can happen during her local shows this week

Break strings, ho hearts

Ukulele player A. J. Leonard and cellist Jenny Rowling.

Master ukulelist visits this week

More Northern River schools needed to be counted in

John Foreman and Jay Laga'aia at a songwriting workshop earlier this year.

Music - Count Us In will be held in November

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber split

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber have split after 11 years together.

Why Chris Hemsworth was spotted wearing nail polish

RED CARPET: Do you think Chris Hemsworth is the typical unpolished but well-natured Aussie bloke?

He's now officially the best bloke in Australia

Testament's new album is a concept album

ROME, ITALY- JULY 27, 2016: Testament photographed at The Roman Collisseium in Rome, Italy on July 27,2016. Gene Ambo

Testament to release new album

Buyers forking out millions

Owners benefiting from undersupplied Northern Rivers market

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

New $33 million development planned for Ballina Shire

The site of a proposed seniors living development at Skennars Head.

Plans include 211 homes, clubhouse and recreational facilities

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction