‘And the bush hath friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him,

In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,

And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended,

And at night the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars.’

A. B “Banjo” Patterson “Clancy of the Overflow”

Narrabri is at the crossroads.

Straight ahead to Banjo’s vision splendid: renewables, infrastructure, training and long – term employment.

Backwards to a gas chamber spreading across North West NSW, poisoning air, water and the food bowl.

This has already happened in Canada and the US where river systems such as the Colorado and Mississippi have been permanently maimed by gas extraction.

Thirty nine countries have experimented with shale and coal seam gas mining; thirty five have banned the process.

England banned fracking a few days ago.

Santos is not good for Narrabri as its latest propaganda proclaims.

It is good for nothing but exporting CSG to China at a premium price and pocketing the profit; for using our dollars to subsidise their exploration costs; for paying no tax.

There are no spin–off industries from CSG, just spin.

Narrabri Shire Council is neutral on CSG. Neutral!

All other councils in the north west are opposed or strongly opposed.

Council has a duty of care to all residents.

Council is also ignoring their legislated extractive industry policy of zero impact on water.

Our most precious resource, whether wearing whites for PJs on Friday night to be ready for junior cricket Saturday morning, or trudging off for the last exams of the HSC, deserve better.

I appeal to Narrabri and district mums who have their children’s best interests at heart all of the time.

CSG and shale mining are a worldwide failure.

A trip over the border into the Queensland gas fields will prove this proposition beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Multiple artesian water bores have failed as the region succumbs to drawdown.

The North West NSW project will not stop at 850 wells.

It will cover an area from the Liverpool Ranges to the Queensland border, west to Dubbo. The map of Petroleum Export Licences shows the extent.

These PELs have expired, but have not been cancelled.

Narrabri has an abundance of sunlight and is ideally positioned to be a renewables hub.

Various universities have presented to Council.

There is no logical reason why several projects have not been started.

Women’s steering committees may be the way to go. The ladies will always put their children ahead of corporate profit.

Costa Rica, a Central American country of five million people, has been 98 per cent renewables for the last five years.

Bill Newell, Narrabri

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