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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Can't Eat Coal, Can't Drink Gas

Dear fellow residents of the NSW Southern Highlands (and Matt Brown MLA).

There will be a large rally in Sydney on Sunday. It will be a really interesting combination of Greens (yes some "Capital G" Greens) and Farmers, and environmentalists and people who just have a grievance with how the State has fared over the last 16 years (mostly dyed-in-the-wool Liberals and National Party supporters).

So there will be something for (nearly) everyone in this rally - from Bankers and Stock-brokers to bushies, the unemployed and the (supposedly) " retired" like me. It will be a group with a common theme - people who love and respect the bush, Nature and the environment.

This rally has been developed by the Lock the Gate Alliance (anti-coal seam gas people), and the peak Environment groups - Nature Conservation Council and many other environment groups.

The organisers of the "Shoo Cockatoo" campaign are going; and so will I.
Caroline Graham from Rivers SOS and I will travel up to there together.
Many hundreds of campaigners from all across the State will be heading to Sydney.

This is not an anti-labor rally, per se.
I prefer to think of it as the first step towards retribution against NSW Labor for the damage they have inflicted over the last 16 years of imbalanced, pro-development, pro-mining favouritism (especially the evil Part 3A legislation). Others will have their personal reasons for attending and waving their placards.

I will be there to try to stand up for the Rivers, and "Upland Swamps" of the Southern Catchment, and the local farmers whose aquifers are still threatened by the risk of mining by Gujarat NRE (not an immediate threat, but a threat none-the-less). Oh yes, I will be there to stick up for the silent threatened species, especially the Orchids, of course, such as my beloved Kangaloon Sun Orchids from Butler's Swamp, Kangaloon (image attached).
Kangaloon Sun Orchid - endangered by the threatened actions of the SCA

My personal motivation is the failure of the Sydney Catchment Authority (and the NSW Water Minister, Phil Costa) to understand the real threat their proposals posed to the Kangaloon Aquifer, and to the local farming community.

Everyone is welcome to join in.
If you cannot do that, at least please take notice of this rally (on the "telly" on Sunday night, and the papers and radio on Monday morning).

And please remember the efforts of the people who are going to Sydney this Sunday, when it comes to casting your vote the following Sunday.

Personally, I am sending this note out not to tell anyone who to vote for - just who I WILL NOT TO VOTE FOR.
The rest is up to you all.
That's democracy in action.

I have copied this note to my local Member Matt Brown MLA,
  • Matt you had the chance to avoid this - four years ago when a number of us came to lobby you privately, about the Kangaloon Aquifer. But you chose to ignore us.
  • You thought I was a dead set "Greenie". How wrong you were. I was and still am, a genuine Environmentalist. There is a difference.
  • I have voted Labor all my life - but I can no longer do so in good conscience - thanks to YOU, Matt, and the NSW Labor Government.

Denis Wilson
Enrolled voter in the Kiama electorate.
Robertson NSW 2577

Attachment from Nature Conservation Council

Dear Friends,

After community action from farmers, conservationists and voters across NSW, both Labor and Coalition are under pressure to deliver this election to protect
communities, agricultural land and water from the impacts of coal mining and coal seam gas.
After years of delay, Premier Keneally announced a plan this week to (supposedly) introduce stricter controls on the mining and gas industry, including identification of exclusion zones and banning some toxic chemicals used in coal seam gas extraction.  The Coalition have pledged to protect Dharawal State Conservation Area from mining and create a new national park; and are focusing on impacts to agricultural land and water resources.  

This Sunday, join people from across NSW to send the message home:

Can't Eat Coal, Can't Drink Gas
- NSW Election Rally to protect local communities, agricultural land and water from mining impacts.

When: 12 Midday, this Sunday March 20
Where: Martin Place, Macquarie St end, Sydney.  

Across NSW, communities are organising to protect their health, water, climate and agricultural land.  On Sunday, people will be attending from communities facing new coal seam gas projects at Camden and Gloucester; farmers from the Liverpool Plains stopping the undermining prime agricultural land; citizens from Western NSW tackling the proposed Cobbora coal mine; Southern Sydney and Illawarra local working to protect our drinking water from underground coal mining; and St Peters residents facing off a proposal to extract coal seam gas from under Sydney city.
This Sunday, one week before the NSW Election, join us to make the message loud and clear: "Food before coal. Water before gas.  For our land, our water and our future."
Speakers include:
  • John Thomson, Broke resident from the Lock the Gate Alliance;
  • Tim Duddy, Liverpool Plains farmer and independent candidate for the Upper Hunter;
  • Bev Smiles, Mudgee landholder from the NSW Nature Conservation Council;
  • Peter Martin, businessman and convenor of the Southern Highlands Coal Action Group;
  • Cate Faehrmann, NSW Greens MP and mining spokesperson;
  • Julie Lyford, long term community campaigner and Gloucester Shire Councillor; and
  • Emceed by Simon Thomsen - restaurant critic for The Daily Telegraph; long-term editor of the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide; and a judge on Channel Seven's upcoming Australian Iron Chef series.
This election, demand your politicians put communities ahead of mining profits. 


Holly Creenaune

Outreach Co-ordinator
Nature Conservation Council

Web: and

P.S.  Bring your banners, placards, friends and family to stand up for local communities, agricultural land and water at 12 midday this Sunday March 20th at Martin Place, Sydney.

Here follows some useful information regarding arrangements for those going to the Rally being held in Sydney this coming Sunday 20th March.
Buses and parking


catmint said...

dear denis, i ho[e the rally went well - we don't get to hear too much here - about the melb. rally last weekend supporting a carbon tax - let alone nsw happenings. your letter to your local member was beautifully expressed - I particularly like the distinction you made between greenie often scornfully said and genuine environmentalist. cheers, cm

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Catmint.

Going to bed right now, to get up early for the rally, in Sydney (200 Kms away).

I will report back.
Absolutely pissing down at present. Hope it lets up, or we will be very wet "Greenies".

Denis (serious Environmentalist)

Miss Eagle said...

Denis, best wishes for the rally. I guess if I were in NSW and could get to the rally I would. However, it appears that Labor will go out next week-end w/out much help from anyone. And I don't imagine that the rally will change anything even if there is a change of government. Why would the Lib/Nats not do similar business with the resource industry moguls? It will be interesting to see if there is any result in this for the Greens - however, after the hubris displayed by them in the recent Victorian state elections, I don't have any confidence in them and believe they lack the maturity and nous needed for government for all.

Missy said...

Hope the rally goes well and is well attended. I will watch out for it on TV in Brisbane.
It would be nice if all Governments could realise that wanting clean air and water and a healthy environment does not make one part of a lunatic fringe.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Brigid
Lets hope the day goes well.
Brigid - it is a strange collection from hard right to soft left. A veritable Chocolate Box of protesters. As for what happens next - its almost as if that doesn't matter any more - we really have no choice. Its a bit like putting down the family pet, which has gone mad and threatens to kill your grandchild.
Thanks Missy. Queenslanders will be well represented today. They are at the forefront of this Industry, and at the forefront of the protest.

Le Loup said...

Good luck Denis, & thank you.

Flabmeister said...

A great (but sad) post Denis. In many ways it reminds me of the reason we no longer live in the ACT. The Liberals and Labor are both pro-development (for slightly different reasons). The Greens seem to be obsessed with process.

In terms of NSW politics we have a good member (Steve Whan)but I am afraid he is going to get his bottie kicked for a very lacklustre campaign and guilt by association. I suspect Monaro will be a tight seat: Steve is popular; the national guy is running a strong campaign in Queanbeyan and the Greens candidate hasn't done anything daft. The difficult bit will be to avoid coming 3rd!

Our Federal member (Mike Kelly) is great but has vanished from view after the last election when he got demoted, despite being one of the few ALP people to do well. A bit too loyal to the Ruddster I suspect.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Le Loup.
Thanks for your interest and support.
The day seems to have gone well. Several hundred at the rally.
Haven't seen any media yet, so I am not sure what the public impression will be.
We can but try.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Martin
Yes, Mike Kelly was one of the few to improve his vote percentage, from memory. But the ALP is not very "democratic" in recognising individual contributions re positions in the Ministry.
Steve Whan is not my favourite Minister, (Primary Industries, incl Mining) for he has approved far to many coal and CSG mines, for my liking.
Also I am wary of ALL 2nd generation Politicians, and Labor is full of them. Libs have some, not as many.