"Police have left the site, telling protesters the dispute is now a civil matter"
Protesters claim win at pipeline blockade UPDATE: March 30, 2011: It's been a huge week, with protesters forming a human barricade at the Tara Estate, south of Chinchilla, on Monday to stop the Queensland Gas Company (QGC) building a 16km pipeline to take coal seam gas from five wells already in the estate to the nearby Kenya gas processing plant.
He and FoE campaigner June Norman have appeared in court on the 30th March.
You can read more about June's arrest here: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/woman-chains-herself-to-bulldozer-in-protest/story-e6frfku0-1226029414345#ixzz1I2di5X00
For regular updates and news links, check our Facebook page.
Please note: because of the recent flooding in southern QLD, this has now been postphoned until May. Please see the Lock the Gate website for updates.
The national movement against coal and coal seam gas mining, farmers and environmental groups around the country are backing a three-day event, including displays, workshops and direct action, at Tara on the western Darling Downs in Queensland.
Local organisers The Western Downs Alliance are engaged in a confrontation with the British Gas-owned QGC that intends to establish a gas field early 2011 on the Tara rural residential estates, home to more than 2,000 people.
Farmers, environmentalists and scientists have been warning the State and federal governments for some time that CSG activities are potentially hazardous to human health, agricultural land and underground water and could damage the Great Artesian Basin for centuries. They have called on these governments to impose a moratorium on the industry until all outstanding social and environmental issues have been addressed. Their only response has been to give the companies the go-ahead to bulldoze their way onto people’s properties and conduct an uncontrolled experiment on the Australian environment, meanwhile crossing their fingers that nothing disastrous happens – at least while they are in office.
Tara 2011 will be based at the Tara Showground and supporters are urged to gather showing the widespread popular concern. Remember, the coal seam gas industry has plans to move into many, many parts of Australia so, while this is happening on the Western Downs now, it could be happening in your area tomorrow.
For more details or to register your intention to participate
Telephone 07 4669 4864
The Official Launch of the Lock the Gate Campaign 22nd of Nov, 2010
Hundreds of farmers in southeast Queensland have vowed to lock their gates to keep coal and gas explorers at bay. Representatives of eight farmers' and residents' organisations joined Friends of the Earth outside the Queensland parliament on Monday to launch the Lock the Gate campaign. They are opposed to miners' plans for up to 40,000 coal seam gas (CSG) wells and massive new coal mines on the rich agricultural lands of the Darling Downs.
The farmers say that in the short term, mining companies, protected by state legislation, have extraordinary rights to enter land for exploration and mining, disrupting farm operations. In the longer term, the mining could irreparably harm underground aquifers and degrade land forever.
According to Friends of the Earth spokesperson Drew Hutton:
The whole weighting of environmental legislation, of impact assessments, of environmental approvals and of land access laws are weighted completely in favour of the mining industry and against farmers.
This is the most radical transformation of rural Queensland since the 19th century.
Dulacca farmer and community leader Lee McNichol said:
The scales of justice are seriously tilted against the farming community, the community in general, and against good environmental regulation.
We have to make a stand now to address some of these issues.
Organic farmer Graham Back said widespread mining activity would make it impossible for growers to access certificates as organic growers.
John Erbacher of Wandoan said the district was expected to host Australia's biggest coal mine and CSG exploration:
For the generations of the future, we need food, (but) do we need coal?
Graham Clapham of the Save Our Darling Downs group said landholders are angry and confused about the CSG industry:
We're angry because the government has forced us to the drastic step of locking our farm gates and we're confused because we can't understand why our government is so keen to grant unlimited rights to foreign multinational mining companies that are not available to Queensland citizens.
Dayne Pratzky of the Western Downs Alliance said miners have been locked out of their rural residential estates near Tara and Chinchilla, home to 3000 people:
If the government want to take us on ... they can try and bulldoze us, but they're going to need a lot more than a piece of paper and a bulldozer to get into our homes.
They're our homes, it's where we live, it's not an industrial zone.
Support the Lock the Gates campaign here.
Or find out more information:
Farmers to ‘lock the gates’ on mining companies (GLW, 28/11/10)
Protesters 'lock the gate' on gas exploration (Brisbane Times, 27/11/10)
Poor Qld town vows to fight coal gas (SMH, 26/11/10)
Protestors fire first shot (the Chronicle, 26/11/10)
Anti-Qld gas exploration demo planned (SMH, 25/11/10)
Farmers in southern Queensland, Australia are willing to be jailed as part of their protest campaign against planned coal and gas mining in the region. (Azomining)