South Gippsland residents plan to form a 50-metre human sign voicing their opposition to coal seam gas (CSG) mining and exploration this weekend.
The Victorian Government has granted mining company ECI International, two CSG exploration licences covering the Poowong area.
A spokeswoman for the group CSG Free Poowong, Ursuala Alquier, says residents plan to form a 50-metre human sign that says ‘We Are CSG Free’.
She says the Poowong community will become the first town in Victoria to declare itself CSG-free.
“Those communities are not going to sit back and watch their livelihood, their way of life and most importantly their very precious water be contaminated by this very invasive, unregulated industry,” she said.
She says a recent survey found only two people from the area supported CSG mining and exploration and most opposed it because of a threat to agriculture.
“It’s not a politically leaning issue … because the communities that are pulling together, there are people even within the Poowong group, some are Liberal voters, some are Nationals voters, some might be Greens voters, that really isn’t the issue here,” she said.
Victoria’s Environment Minister, Ryan Smith, says the Government is willing to listen to community concerns about CSG extraction.
“Well I’m very keen to get feedback from communities about anything in relation to managing their own environment and certainly I’d be happy for the Government, for myself, to listen to those communities and take into account their views on what they’d like to see happen in their own communities,” he said.