Our movement was engulfed by grief last week when we heard that Chinchilla farmer George Bender had died.
George could no longer find the reserves within himself to fight with Origin Energy and the Qld Government, who were determined to turn his productive cotton farm into an industrial gasfield against his wishes.
George was exceptionally brave and honest. A warm man and a wonderful farmer. He had fought for 10 years to protect his farm and his community from CSG mining. He asked for nothing more than to quietly grow food and fibre for Australia.
We are devastated to have lost him, and heartbroken for his family.
We will be holding vigils across the country this week to pay our deepest respects to George and his family, to honour his memory, and to say ‘never again’.
Never again should a multi-national mining giant and a government join together to deprive landholders of hope and take away their rights.
Never again should a family be driven beyond despair by the heavy-handed tactics of CSG companies.
Can you join us at one of these events? You can see the full details here.
This issue has exposed a callous indifference by the Qld Government to the suffering of the people of rural Qld.
The day after the news broke of George’s death, the Qld Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, spent a day with Santos opening their new LNG export plant at Gladstone.
But she refused our request late last week for an urgent crisis meeting to discuss actions that can be taken right now to ensure that this terrible situation never happens again.
Will you join us in telling her that this heartless response is totally unacceptable?
We need everyone, wherever they are, from all around Australia, to ring the Qld Premier’s office this week and demand a crisis meeting and an action plan to stop further harm and suffering in the Qld gasfields.
Please take the time to contact the Premier right now – call 07 3719 7000. Demand that she holds a crisis meeting with Lock the Gate Alliance and affected community members and hears our proposals for urgent reform.
George’s family have told us that George was fighting for all farmers, and that the best way to honour his memory is by fighting for the right of all landholders to say no to mining.
Out of the deepest respect for George, we intend to go on in that spirit.
He will be always in our hearts,
President, Lock the Gate Alliance
If you are needing support, or information about suicide prevention, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Lock the Gate Alliance