Rock the Gate locks out Arrow

Michael McNamara from Lock the Gate
Michael McNamara from Lock the Gate John Gass

WITH the Rock the Gate rally at Murwillumbah just hours away, Lock the Gate-Tweed's Michael McNamara has taken a stand against Arrow Energy which holds an exploration licence PEL445 that encroaches on the south west corner of Tweed Shire.

"We don't want you here," Mr McNamara said.

Mr McNamara also hit out at Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) Chief Executive David Byers.

Mr Byers said in an address at the APPEA CSG Conference in Brisbane on October 9 that "the work of professional activists, like some outside this building, will also continue - but this should be seen for what it is: background noise."

"We won't be making background noise," Mr McNamara said.

"This rally will be a lot of noise with a clear message.

"We are standing up against coal seam gas mining now, before it is too late.

"We believe in prevention, rather than cure.

"The gate is locked against access and will stay locked."

Mr Byers did however say there was "no denying that some behaviour during the early years of CSG exploration and development in Queensland could be likened to a skin that the industry collectively is finding hard to shed."

"But nor should there be any doubt about our determination to regain the trust of landholders and to demonstrate how well we can now manage our community relationships," he added.

Arrow Energy has the PEL445 exploration licence, but Tweed mayor Barry Longland has also confirmed that the NSW Aboriginal Land Council has taken out a licence for prospecting on various parts of the shire.

A mayoral minute from the Tweed Shire Council's March general meeting states that "the Aboriginal Land Council has been granted mining exploration covering large areas of NSW including parts of the Tweed."

An Arrow energy spokesperson said Arrow holds only one Petroleum Exploration Licence (#445) in NSW.

"Arrow has conducted broadscale regional exploration drilling across the PEL445 region since it was first granted in 2004," he said.

"Arrow is planning no new work at this time in this area but will undertake routine well and site rehabilitation as required as a normal condition of tenure."

 Al Jazeera TV, with a global audience of 31 million, will be at the Rock the Gate Rally tomorrow to give an international ear to the issue of coal seam gas (CSG) mining in the Northern Rivers of NSW.

Thousands of people from the Northern Rivers, South East Queensland and beyond are expected to converge on Murwillumbah for Rock the Gate Northern Rivers as part of a National Week of Action against Coal Seam Gas Mining.

Mr McNamara said he expects a minimum of 3,000 people at the rally, but a yellow human sign has been scrapped due to time constrictions.

Singer/songwriter Pete Murray will head the entertainment, with high profile guest speakers lined up.

Gates open at 9.30am with the rally starting at 10am, the march at noon and entertainment from 1pm.

Supporters are asked to wear yellow.

Topics:  arrow energy lock the gate mining rock the gate

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