Artists including Ash Grunwald and Xavier Rudd have put on a show for anti-coal seam gas protesters, many of whom have been there for days and weeks on end. But other local residents say their democratic rights should also be respected.
About 400 people turned up to a Doubtful Creek cattle property, for an anti-CSG concert dubbed ‘Don’s party’.
Musician Ash Grunwald was among the musicians there to provide moral support to those who have given up many hours to protest.
“I just want them to know that I’m 100 per cent behind them and I really admire what they’re doing,” he says.
“When it comes to CSG, I’ll do whatever I can because it’s so worrying to me.”
Down the road from the concert site, behind the gate where recent blockades have been taking place sits the property of Steven Casey and his family.
A Metgasco test well is located on the land.
Mr Casey says while protesters have a democratic right to rally, it’s his democratic right to live his day to day life without harassment and choose what he does with his land.
He says his family is subject to prank calls, verbal abuse and have their photo taken each time they leave their property.
“A lot of them are good, they go about their protest quietly but there is a hardcore element amongst them; they yell abuse at the fence, they try blocking the gateway when we go to get cattle out in the truck.
“They cut some locks off and glued a few others up and I know they’ve done it to our neighbours as well, it’s unnecessary.”
The Doubtful Creek farmer believes members of the community are being misinformed about the testing.
He says protests should be directed at State Government, not at local landholders and Metgasco workers.
“Go to the next site, or go to a higher level.
“At the end of the day it’s our land, it’s our decision to have it. I support the people that actually work for Metgasco, they’re a mining company, they applied for a license, they were granted it and I don’t see why they’re not allowed to use it.”
But activists argue that the landholder’s decision to allow Metgasco to mine for coal seam gas will have impacts for the whole region.
Local resident Dean Draper has been protesting at the drill rig for 12-15 hours a day over the past three weeks.
“We’re very frightened about the end result of this whole thing, so that’s more scary than the time we’re taking up,” he says.
“I think what’s happening is just an indication of how strongly people feel about their land and their community, if there is a little bit of inconvenience for people well they need to come out and talk to the government about it, because it’s the government that’s doing this to us.”
Source: ABC News