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



Tents for homeless: Making the most of Splendour's aftermath

Punters urged to donate their clean gear to Social Futures to help the homeless.

'Absolute wasteland', scoured for goods

Bandmate of 83 years, 'Squizzy', mourned by Salvos

MUSICAL LEGACY: Harold Taylor, pictured with the loves of his life, his wife Pearl and his coronet.

Local cornet musician has 83 year legacy with Salvation Army

Regional emergency services leaders speak up about inquiry

Emergency services agencies are under the microscope.

More than 170 submissions to parliamentary inquiry received

Local Partners

Jonathan LaPaglia takes you inside Australian Survivor s2

Strategy plays key role as castaways seek to make savvy moves and alliances.

Bachelor Recap: Matty’s stunning public rejection

Chic.

Last night we saw humiliation at its best

NZ anchor drops F-bomb live on air

Veteran news anchor Eric Young has been caught uttering an expletive.

Veteran NZ newsreader swears on live television

Jump on a shuttle for a great day out

SKY'S THE LIMIT: Rotorwing Helicopter Services is one of many local and interstate businesses that will be featured at the Lismore Aviation Expo. Rotorwing will have static displays as well as offering joy flights.

The what, where and when of the Lismore Aviation expo

The Block's family home rescue mission

Scott Cam hosts the TV series The Block.

Reno show's new concept proves its biggest challenge to date.

Angelina Jolie 4.0: Is anyone buying this?

Angelina Jolie, master media manipulator, is back.

Love The Bachelor and a feminist? Sorry, you can't be both

These 22 women trying to win Matty's heart... but at what cost? (Pic: Channel 10)

Tans will be sprayed. Roses will be distributed. Tears will be shed.

Hearty food for cold nights

Boneless lamb shoulder roast with crushed kipflers.

RECIPES: Two tasty lamb dishes to try this winter

How one man made more than $20m in a land deal

Varsity Lakes

Sale, with GST added, shows as a $26.4 million transaction

5 ways to avoid 'tenants from hell'

Finding a good, reliable tenant can be a tedious task.

After some helpful ways to avoid terrible tenants? Read on

Tenant: Let me rent, I'll fix your property and pay for it

Noosaville tenant Tony Conyers thought his tenancy was guaranteed until 2035, so he spent his own money on the property. Now he's been told he may not be able to stay for even one more year.

Renter spent $30k on maintaining, improving property over 17 years