North Boyanup declares itself gasfield-free

No social licence: North Boyanup residents gathered on Sunday to declare the locality gasfield-free, becoming the second community in the region to do so. Photo: JH

No social licence: North Boyanup residents gathered on Sunday to declare the locality gasfield-free, becoming the second community in the region to do so. Photo: JH

North Boyanup became the second locality in the South West to declare itself gasfield-free on Sunday.

The declaration follows a similar community-led announcement from Stratham residents in the Shire of Capel in July when 98.7 per cent of the more than 500 residents surveyed supported the motion.

In North Boyanup, the numbers were similarly high.

Organiser Kathy Thomson told the Mail that an identical approach had been used in North Boyanup, with local volunteers going house-to-house asking residents if they supported the declaration.

“We've got 97.5 per cent gasfield-free,” Ms Thomson said. “The small percentage of people who didn't say yes to going gasfield-free were government workers, perhaps worried about their jobs, and people who come from the mining industry and live here and who don't want the mines to come here but feel compromised by saying that they don't want them.”

The declaration ceremony was attended by dozens of residents and local and state politicians.

Councillor Brian Smith of the Shire of Capel accepted a copy of the declaration on behalf of the shire, as did Collie-Preston Liberal candidate Elysia Harveson and independent candidate for the seat Louie Scibilia.

Member for Collie-Preston Mick Murray was also in attendance and accepted the declaration. In July, Mr Murray and South West MLC Sally Talbot launched a campaign to ban fracking in the South West with Mr Murray saying people in the South West had convinced him they do not want a gas industry.

For Ms Thomson, there are numerous reasons to oppose gasfields but the core issue is one of economic safety.

“We're just ordinary people making a living from the land and we want our jobs to be important to the government and our livelihoods to be important to the government,” she said.

“From a personal point of view, my property will be be my superannuation. That is all I have. I cannot risk it. The government should step up.”

So far nearly 400 communities across Australia have declared themselves gasfield-free.

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