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Big Illawarra contingent expected at fracking rally

THE Northern Illawarra is expected to have strong representation on Thursday during an anti-coal seam gas rally in Sydney.

More than 20,000 people in NSW have signed a petition that calls for a ban on fracking and a moratorium on coal seam gas (CSG) mining until the health, water and environmental impacts are known.

This Thursday (tomorrow) opponents of CSG will rally at Parliament House in Macquarie Street and plan to pack the public gallery as the petition is debated in Parliament.

Speakers at the rally include Graeme Gibson, farmer and member of the Hunter Valley Protection Alliance; Shirley Gladding from Stop CSG Illawarra; and Greg Bourke from the Scenic Hills Association.

Last week the NSW Government released draft plans it claimed would address concerns about the compatibility of CSG with other land uses, and protect water, health, agriculture and the environment.

Opponents say the plan doesn’t go far enough and means that no where in NSW is off limits to CSG mining or fracking – including the Illawarra’s fragile catchment area.

Jess Moore from Stop CSG Illawarra said the rally is in support of a moratorium on coal seam gas mining.

“Last month it came out that there have been 20 toxic spills in the Pilliga; and last month drilling started in Sydney’s drinking water catchment. The Government is failing to protect communities,” Ms Moore said.

“The contamination of water and land shows the need for an immediate moratorium on all CSG projects and a royal commission into the full impacts of the industry.

“A ban on fracking is also needed. No practice that fractures underground systems, can cause earthquakes and involves the direct contamination of large quantities of fresh water should be allowed to proceed.”

About Mick Roberts

A newspaper journalist, writer and local historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in the Sydney and Illawarra regions of NSW for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides authoring a number of history books, Mick has owned and operated several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limted), Sydney based, City News, and is now with Torch Publications.

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