|As we move into a new term of parliament we’d love to hear what’s most important to you. Let us know.
Something big just happened in NSW. For the first time ever coal seam gas and mining became election-defining issues. From the Northern Rivers to suburban Sydney, the message was loud and clear.
In at least three electorates where coal or gas is a major issue — Ballina, Wyong and Campbelltown — Liberals and Nationals lost their seats.
Meanwhile, as the ballots continue to be counted in Lismore, the Nationals have copped a 24% swing away from them with the Greens neck and neck to take the seat. What’s the big deal about that? It’s that Lismore has been a very safe Nationals seat for decades and in recent years when the community put its foot down over coal seam gas, the locals Nationals MP ignored them, until it was too late.
Elsewhere in the state’s mining affected regions, there were significant swings away from Coalition MPs too. In Barwon, home to the Narrabri Gas Project in the Pilliga Forest, the Nationals MP had a 12% swing away from him, and he was dumped from Cabinet. In the Upper Hunter, where AGL want to put a coal seam gasfield at Gloucester, the local Nats MP copped a massive 21% swing away from him. In the neighbouring electorate of Myall Lakes, the numbers were much the same, a 20% swing away from the Nationals. Coal seam gas is a hot issue in Clarence too and the Nationals MP there was dealt a 21% swing away from him.
On the Central Coast where the Wallarah 2 coal mine proposal threatens local drinking water, Labor, who oppose the mine, picked up the seat of Wyong while the incumbent Liberal MP in neighbouring seat of Gosford is barely clinging on as votes continue to be counted there.
It’s a hell of a shake up for the Baird government’s second term. Coal seam gas and mining is the issue no NSW politician can afford to ignore any longer.
As all of us know, none of this happened by luck — rather this moment is the result of tireless work by thousands of people right across our state.
So what now? We know many politicians operate on election cycles, but for the rest of us, our work continues until achieve permanent protection for our land, our water and our communities.
There are pre-election promises we’ll work to turn into policy because we’re here to hold our politicians to their word.
- There are the leaky coal seam gas wells in south west Sydney that we’ll continue to work with the community to have decommissioned, because no one should have to live near that.
- There are the farmers of the Liverpool Plains who we’ll continue to champion as they fight off the massive Shenhua Watermark coal mine, because our food producing land is too precious to lose.
- There is the Pilliga Forest to protect from Santos’ huge gasfield proposal, because forests should be full of trees and animals, not gas wells and pipelines.
- There’s the idyllic Gloucester Valley to protect from AGL’s fracking and the impending expansion of open-cut coal too, because no one wants to live or holiday in an industrial zone.
- There’s the work that will continue until the mid north coast and Northern Rivers is permanently protected and gasfield free.
- There’s the little Hunter Valley town of Bulga whose few hundred residents have called for a helping hand to knock Rio Tinto’s coal mine plans on the head once and for all, because no town should be relocated to make way for a mine.
- There’s our water catchments, and especially those that provide for Sydney because coal mining companies in the southern coalfields have been allowed to come too close for too long, and the stakes are simply too high to keep giving our waterways over to mining.
Those are a few of the spots we’ll be focusing our attention on.
But we’d like to hear from you. What is most important to you as we head into a new term of parliament in NSW? You can let us know by filling out this short question survey.
There are five questions (three of them are multiple choice) and it should take no longer than 5 minutes to complete. Please feel free to share it around your networks, we’re keen to hear from people all over NSW.
That’s it from us for now, we hope you’ll be enjoying some well-earned rest over the coming long weekend,
Holly and the Land, Water, Future team
1. Sydney Morning Herald story on shifting votes across NSW