Gasfield Free Bairnsdale (GFB) was formed by local residents in November 2013; we are all volunteers. When we heard there was a huge exploration mining licence (EL4416) for unconventional gas mining in our area, the biggest licence in Gippsland, we decided to hold a public meeting and information night in Paynesville on 5th December 2013. Over 150 people attended. As a result of attending that meeting, members of the Meerlieu & District community requested a public meeting for their community; this was held at the Meerlieu Hall in February 2014.
Local residents have been door knocking where there is an exploration mining licence to inform landholders about the licence and to ask a survey question, “Do you want your land gasfield free?” Lock the Gate signs have been sold and put on gates where landholders chose to do this; this is a “no trespass sign” to mining companies. When the surveying has been completed, community declaration events have been held to present the outcome of the survey question.
So far over 600 yellow triangular lock the gate “no trespass” signs are on gates and 2 declaration events have been held: the first was on 5th October 2014 at Meerlieu where 450 people were surveyed in the districts of Perry Bridge; Meerlieu; Goon Nure; and Bengworden. 98% of the survey respondents said “no” to gasfields on their land. Over 200 people attended and participated in a “No Gasfields” sign made from utes. The second declaration was on 12th April 2015 at Eagle Point where 207 people were surveyed in the districts of: East Bairnsdale, Nicholson, Broadlands, Newlands Arm & Eagle Point. 98% of survey respondents said “no” to gasfields on their land and over 130 people attended the declaration.
Another 100 people have been surveyed in Forge Creek. Surveying will be completed there and in: Hillside; Calulu; Wy Yung; Bairnsdale (district not town) and Lindenow in the next couple of months. A total of over 750 people have been surveyed where there is an exploration mining licence on their land, with 98% of the respondents saying “NO” to gasfields on their land. The movie “Frackman” screened at the Bairnsdale Sun Cinema on 6th May 2015. Bairnsdale had the largest audience in Victoria with 177 of the 200 seats filled. Senator Ricky Muir attended and spoke during the Q&A session (at the Senator’s instigation).
If you would like to see where the mining licence is located go to this website where you can insert your address and have a look, or see the attached map: http://www.energyandresources.vic.gov.au/earth-resources/maps-reports-and-data/mining-licences-near-me