LETTER TO THE EDITOR:
LAST Tuesday night’s Wellington Shire Council meeting has cemented a bond between its members and constituents surrounding the onshore gas debate.
Darren McCubbin presented his mayor’s report on a meeting held with Resources Minister, Wade Noonan on July 6, stating the Wellington Shire Council’s position on coal seam gas has hardened and there is, “… no justification for the industry to be continued now or into the future,” and that he, “… can see no economic benefit in moving forward”.
Chambers then listened to comments from the gallery before councillors added their concerns and appraisal of the report:
Cr Scott Rossetti added we, ” … should be avoiding using finite resources,’ and be “… moving well towards using renewables”.
Cr John Duncan also applauded the mayor’s report, saying “I see my role as a councillor is to do what people want … the risk (of CSG) is far too great. Coal seam gas or exploitation is not welcome here”.
Cr Peter Cleary said “I have always been wary of coal seam gas. Until we have all the answers we can’t go ahead with it.”
Cr Malcolm Hole was vocal in backing the community: “We’re an agricultural shire. I think we have to be very strong … we’ve got the community behind us and, I think we should show the Victorian Government our strength”.
Cr Carolyn Crossley assured the packed public gallery “We have been taking your concerns seriously”.
She talked of the unnecessary stress four years of campaigning had placed on farmers and community and voiced, “… take this stress off community and move the moratorium to a ban”.
With water being our most basic need, Cr Bob Wenger spoke about dropping groundwater supplies: “Water is precious. We need to keep it as best we can”.
I left that meeting feeling as though, finally, the community is working as one towards a sustainable future and I have greater respect for the current council with its progressive thinking.
To hear the mayor state with conviction “We will take up the fight with you,” will go a long way to our achieving a total ban on onshore gas mining in Gippsland, and Victoria.