By Gary Warner
Only about 60 people attended last night’s Fracking Forum, but their attitude was never in doubt. As it continued its tour of the Mid West, the Lock The Gate roadshow was largely preaching to the converted, most of them eager to vent their feelings about the controversial practice.
It was significant, however, that the predominantly ‘green’ audience also included several farmers, who have their own very personal reasons for concern. Farming properties are the battleground of this dispute, hence the title of the Lock The Gate movement which has seen farmers in the eastern states padlocking their gates in an attempt to prevent gas explorers entering their properties.
While protest rallies in the east have seen thousands of farmers and townspeople join forces against the coal shale gas industry, Western Australia is yet to see any similar groundswell of protest. That might yet happen, given the gasps of dismay heard when Jamie Hansen of the WA Conservation Council told the meeting that 53 percent of Australia’s landmass is already subject to exploration permits or applications.
Frack Free Mid West is still small, but its numbers could yet swell to those seen in the eastern states.