Coal-seam gas water-holding ponds.
Coal-seam gas water-holding ponds. Contributed

CWA joins coal-seam gas battle

THE Country Women's Association of NSW has announced it will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with farmers rallying against coal-seam gas.

Through its Facebook page and website the CWA has encouraged members to attend the "Protect our land and water" rally in Sydney on May 1.

The NSW Farmers Association has organised the rally against the State Government's Draft Strategic Regional Land Use Policy.

The association has said the policy fails to protect groundwater supplies, farmland and communities from the resources boom.

The CWA is one of eight organisations supporting the rally, including the Lock the Gate Alliance, the Nature Conservation Council of NSW and the activist group GetUp!

CWA NSW branch president Elaine Armstrong said women have raised concerns within the CWA about coal-seam gas exploration.

"A lot of our members feel coal-seam gas exploration is going ahead without the correct investigations," Mrs Armstrong said.

"At our conference last year coal-seam gas was very strongly spoken about and we were urged to take it up as a main issue."

The not-for-profit, non-party political and non-sectarian group is considered one of Australia's peak women's organisations.

While the CWA has a reputation for making scones and cups of tea, it does have considerable clout within regional Australia, but Mrs Armstrong stressed the group does not wish to alienate members by taking a political stance.

"We're not going into this for political reasons, we're supporting NSW farmers out of concern and vigilance for our land and water use," Mrs Armstrong said.

She said rural women understand the value of protecting land for food production.

"Land and water has always been on the agenda for women in rural communities and when you look to the year 2050 we will need to be able to supply Australia with food and fibre."

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