Darnum meeting moves to lock the gate
 Baw Baw News  

By // 16:46, Wednesday 10 April 2013

lock the gate darnum warragul citizen william kulich

LOCALS at a coal seam gas information night in Darnum on Friday overwhelmingly supported the idea of declaring Baw Baw coal seam gas-free.

Pictured: Mark Ogge of The Australia Institute, Dr Jo McCubbin from Doctors for the Environment, and lawyer for community law firm Environmental Defenders Office Nick Croggon.
Images by author.

Over 100 people attended the event organised by the Baw Baw Sustainability Network, most of whom voted in support of action to stop any CSG mining in the area.

Coal seam gas exploration licenses are in place over Baw Baw but no mining licenses have been granted in Victoria.


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Mark Ogge of The Australia Institute, Dr Jo McCubbin from Doctors for the Environment, and lawyer for community law firm Environmental Defenders Office Nick Croggon spoke at the event.

The speakers warned of loss of agricultural land, damage to water tables and possible earthquakes if the process of extracting gas from coal seams called hydraulic fracturing, also called “fracking”, were to take place in the region.

Mr Croggon told The Warragul Citizen movements in New South Wales and Poowong to declare areas CSG-free had proven effective.

LISTEN: Nick Croggon interviewed by
The Warragul Citizen about CSG rights:


If audio controls are not visible above or do not work correctly,
click here to download the MP3.

“That seems to have been a really effective community technique in New South Wales and in Poowong, so maybe that’s one thing communities could do,” Mr Croggon said after the event.

Mr Croggon also said local government could have a role in stopping coal seam gas mining in the area.

“Councils do have a role down the track – new mines sometimes need planning permission and it’s the council that would usually grant that, their opposition could be expressed at the point,” Mr Croggon said.

mal_mckelvie_baw_baw_sustainability_network_lock_the_gate_warragul_citizen_william_kulich

Pictured: Former Baw Baw Sustainability Network President Malcolm McKelvie holds a “Lock the Gate” sign.


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“Councils have a pretty strong voice for their community, so if a council comes out against coal seam gas then that’s a pretty powerful message to the state government that perhaps we need to toughen up our laws and perhaps we don’t want CSG in Victoria.”

Speakers also mentioned the risk of water contamination from CSG mining-related evaporative ponds during flooding events.

Local Water Watcher and landowner John Poppins told The Warragul Citizen his concerns about possible negative effects of CSG mining in the area were “enormous.”

“Even forgetting the chemicals that they want to inject and the gasses and the things… just the amount of saline water and the impacts of that salinity when it’s brought to the surface,” Mr Poppins said.

LISTEN: John Poppins interviewed by
The Warragul Citizen about CSG and water:


If audio controls are not visible above or do not work correctly,
click here to download the MP3.

“We will lose not only local streams to added salt, but Sale and the bottom end of the catchment… will really suffer.”

Mr Poppins said the catchment was already struggling with climate change, logging and other effects and agriculture would be most affected by mining.

“The real impacts on water quality that will affect this catchment will be on the agricultural lands and the streams flowing down through it,” Mr Poppins said.

“We have already a stressed catchment… things aren’t getting better. We can’t afford to make them get worse or, not if we hope to continue to feed ourselves.”

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One response to “Darnum meeting moves to lock the gate”

  1. Marc Schellekens says:

    I would like to congratulate the Baw Baw Sustainability Network for taking the fight up to the coal seam gas industry. The coal seam gas industry is a genuine environmental rapist that has the blessing of both sides of politics. Australia is a dry continent and protecting our aquifers is of the upmost importance. Australia has an abundance of fossil fuels like coal and natural gas that can be extracted safely without fracking. Fracking is dangerous and unnecessary.