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Land council applies for Tweed petroleum prospecting

Residents joined together for Rock the Gate in Murwillumbah's CBD.
Residents joined together for Rock the Gate in Murwillumbah's CBD. Blainey Woodham

THE NSW Aboriginal Land Council has applied for a petroleum prospecting licence over a 900sq km section of land in the area, including a large part of Tweed Shire.

The move has angered anti-coal seam gas protesters, with Lock the Gate-Tweed's Michael McNamara claiming the application as "an outrageous insult to the Tweed community."

The application was advertised only three weeks after the Rock the Gate - Northern Rivers protest rally against CSG was held at Murwillumbah.

The application for a "Petroleum Special Prospecting Authority" (PSPAPP55) was published in a recent advertisement in local media, advising that the organisation has lodged Petroleum Special Prospecting Authority Application number 55 with the State Government.

The application covers an area that takes in Murwillumbah.

The Northern Star reported NSW Aboriginal Land Council chief Geoff Scott saying the move was "borne out of frustration and an understanding that if Aboriginal people wait for government to invest properly in Aboriginal communities, they'd be waiting a long, long time.

"If we want to stand on our own, without reliance on government, then we have to be prepared to lead the way on issues, and that includes investing our own resources," Mr Scott said.

"The push behind this is to end Aboriginal poverty."

According to Mr McNamara, Rock the Gate - Northern Rivers drew more than 4,000 people demanding that the Northern Rivers be declared gas field free.

"Indigenous people were at the head of the march through Murwillumbah alongside other community members opposed to CSG operations," he said.

"Elders and other Aboriginal community members from various Northern Rivers communities have publicly stated their opposition to CSG operations," Mr McNamara said.

Mr McNamara is calling on Tweed Shire residents to contact the NSW Aboriginal Land Council to express their opposition to the application and to call for its withdrawal.

"One application for a Special Prospecting Authority by the NSW State Aboriginal Land Council (in the Illawarra) has already been refused," he said.

In that area the Local Aboriginal Land Council joined with the Lock the Gate campaign to oppose the application."

"I anticipate that Tweed and Byron Shire Councils will lodge objections to the application and I call on them to do so in defence of local residents"

"I will also be contacting the Tweed-Byron Local Aboriginal Land Council to seek their agreement to oppose the application"

Topics:  coal seam gas, csg, protest


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