CSG protestors celebrate Bentley blockade a year on
ANTI-coal seam gas mining protestors relived their victory at Bentley with a good, old-fashioned hoe-down at the local hall on Saturday.
The celebrations, songs and speeches remembered the achievements of hundreds of protestors who packed up their tents and tripods 12 months ago at the Bentley Blockade.
The Bentley Blockade played a major role in Metgasco's exploration licence being suspended just days before about 800 police were expected to break up the camp established near where the company wanted to drill for CSG.
"After the recent overturn of the suspension and Metgasco's statements that they intend to return to drill at Bentley, it is timely to remind both Metgasco and our government that any attempt to drill in the Northern Rivers will be met by renewed, strong opposition from the community," Gasfield Free Northern Rivers regional co-ordinator Elly Birdsaid.
"A year ago people came from all over the Northern Rivers and showed beyond doubt their determination to protect our home from industrial gasfields.
"One year on and people are still completely committed to ensuring the Northern Rivers remains gasfield free."
Local musicians including Luke Vassella, Tim Stokes, Davey Bob Ramsay and the Fuelers and Blackboi entertained an estimated crowd of about 200.
The Bentley reunion coincided with the NSW National Party annual state conference held in the Hunter Valley.
There NSW Nationals leader Troy Grant said it was very clear to him the Northern Rivers community did not want coal seam gas.
He said the party had to move with the changes happening in regional NSW.
Despite a motion by Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis to declare the North Rivers gasfield free not being voted on, Lismore MP Thomas George said it was already the party's policy.
"Why do we need the motion?" Mr George said at the conference.
"Because we were doing exactly what the motion said when I announced that we would buy PEL 445 two weeks before the election."
"We will achieve a gas-free Northern Rivers, we need to buy the PELs (petroleum exploration licence) back, I announced prior to the election we will buy 445, that would take 80% of gas away from the Northern Rivers."
The deadline for the buyback of PEL 445 by the State Government is June 30.