BOOLARRA will become the first town in the Latrobe Valley to declare itself ‘Coal Seam Gas Free’ with a declaration day organised by the Sustainable Boolarra Group for Sunday.
In 2013-14 the association surveyed 450 properties in and around Boolarra, and found 87 per cent of property owners were opposed to the establishment of new coal mines and gas fields
Less than five per cent of residents supported new mining and the remaining eight per cent were unsure or had no opinion.
Sustainable Boolarra Group representative Chelsea Stewart said it was clear from the survey results the majority of residents were opposed to new mining in the area.
“By declaring our town and the surrounding districts CSG free, Boolarra is sending a strong message to the government and mining companies that as a community, we do not want any new coal or gas mining in the area,” Ms Stewart said.
“We want to protect our local environment, our farming industries, our way of life and, most importantly, our water.
“There is no social licence here for the CSG industry.
“We place a much greater value on our food production, our water quality and the health of our residents than on supporting the expansion of gas export markets.”
Boolarra beef farmer Tania Brown said she was concerned about the health risks to her children, and the possible contamination of the area’s water, land and stock with toxic chemicals from coal and gas mining industries.
Ms Brown said she believed contaminated beef and dairy products would be the end of the “clean” image of Gippsland farming and destroy their overseas markets.
“Although the mining corporations and government agencies advise that agriculture and mining can safely coexist, we now have the terrible news that groundwater in Pilliga (New South Wales) has been poisoned with uranium, arsenic and other heavy metals as a result of CSG activities,” she said.
“Clearly there are no guarantees that CSG mining can be conducted without immediate threat to the surrounding environment.
“It is time the government put the long term future of our communities and agricultural industries ahead of the short term gains and devastating ecological impacts promised by the CSG industry.”
The Declaration Day will be held in Railway Park, Boolarra on Sundayfrom noon to 3pm and will feature local musicians, a free barbecue, children’s activities, a declaration ceremony and a giant Lock the Gate cake.
For more information phone Chelsea Stewart on 0437 045 346, email
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.facebook.com/sustainableboolarra