Rally Makes Waves in Macquarie St

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The minister for the North Coast says the State Government is taking concerns about coal-seam gas seriously.
Don Page says the message sent by an estimated seven thousand people who protested in Lismore over the weekend will be heard in Macquarie Street.
He says it was the biggest rally he can remember in the region.
Mr Page says it’s a complex issue.
“We’ve taken 15 months to try to work up a policy that seeks to deal with this issue,” he said.
“Our government has not approved any of these licences, either exploration or mining licences and we are trying to deal with a very complex issue.
“But obviously a demonstration of 7000-odd people is a statement and the government takes that on board.
“We’ve got a draft strategic land management plan out there at the moment and we’re looking for feedback and I guess that is a very direct and obvious form of feedback, when you have that many people saying that they don’t want anything to do with coal-seam gas,” Mr Page said.
Meanwhile, the organisers of the rally say the turn out showed the depth of feeling in the region.
Ian Gaillard, from the Lock the Gate Alliance, says the campaign against the industry is gaining momentum.
“You’ll continue to see more and more people speaking out against these unconventional forms of gas extraction,” he said.
“You will see farmers, you’ll see people in towns, you see people on rural holdings, you see original people, you see everybody speaking out against this destructive industry.
“Well, we’re asking (the gas companies) to withdraw.
“At the moment 7,000 people in Lismore is only an indication of the number of people that don’t want these dangerous industries in our area.”
Metgasco released a statement this week saying it was aware of the rally.
The company says it will continue to work to convince communities that its techniques are safe and established.

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