QUEENSLAND-based founder of the Lock the Gate movement, Drew Hutton, will speak at the Gasfield Free Seaspray celebration next Sunday, July 28.
The well known activist, who spearheaded the campaign which resulted in more than 15,000 farm gates closed, confirmed he would be making a trip south especially to take part in the event.
Event organiser Kerrin Schelfhout said Mr Hutton was a knowledgeable and inspiring speaker.
“We were overwhelmed by his generous offer to join us in celebrating our community’s declaration that we are Gasfield Free,” Ms Schelfhout said.
“This will be an opportunity for everyone in our region to hear firsthand about the devastation that has been wrought across Queensland by this destructive industry,” she added, citing farms, waterways, health and communities as primary talking points.
She said mining licenses for coal, coal seam gas, tight gas and shale gas stretched across the Wellington, Bass Coast, Baw Baw and South Gippsland shires, taking in towns as diverse as Sale, Wonthaggi, Fish Creek, Mirboo North, Leongatha, Poowong and almost everywhere in between.
“We’re the second town in Victoria to declare ourselves coal seam gas free,” Ms Schelfhout said.
Mr Hutton said the time was right for Gippslanders to stop the looming threat of tight gas and coal seam gas mining.
“Areas like Seaspray all around Australia are under threat from the expansion of coal and unconventional gas mining onto good farm land,” he said.
“We must protect communities like Seaspray from high-impact, destructive activities like mining and the best way to do that is for landowners to lock their gates,” he added.
Anti-CSG Seaspray residents are hoping a 50-metre long human sign to be created on the day will do just that, with organisers planning to spell out ‘No gasfields’ with their bodies.
A survey in Seaspray, Giffard and the Honeysuckles conducted last month indicated 98 per cent of the community did not want coal seam gas or tight gas in their region, prompting the rally.
Ms Schelfhout said the day would include a barbecue, musicians, face painting and a fly-over by a local plane.