JULY 24, 2016: Statham will today (Sunday July 24) join nearly 400 communities across Australia in declaring itself a Gasfield Free Community and is the first south west community to do so.
The declaration, to be made a special ceremony in Stratham, means that the gas mining industry does not have a social licence to operate in the area.
The declaration followed months of detailed survey work where members of the community went house-to-house, road-by-road asking residents if they wanted to declare themselves gasfield free.
Spokesperson for the Stratham Gasfield Free Community Group Gill Cormack said 98 per cent of the community had said “Yes” to becoming gasfield free.
“The results were overwhelmingly in favour of declaring ourselves a gasfield free community,” Ms Cormack said.
“This means we don’t want the gas industry to set up, frack or operate in our community.
“In making this declaration we are sending a very clear message to the industry that it is not welcome in Stratham.”
Stratham, in the Shire of Capel, is the first community in the south west to declare itself gasfield free and other communities are expected to follow the lead over the next few months.
Gasfield Free Communities are an initiative of the Lock the Gate Alliance and are designed to give communities the opportunity to have a say about whether their local area is industrialized for gas production.
Ms Cormack said the process of surveying the community had been empowering and had helped forge new links across Stratham.
“We have come together as a united community to tell the gas industry we want to protect our land, water and health from gas mining and exploration,” Ms Cormack said.
The declaration comes as the gas industry is ramping up its activities in the south west and two days before an industry focused gas expo will be hosted by the Capel Shire on Tuesday July 26.
The community celebrations marking the declaration will take place at 2pm Sunday July 24 at Lovell Park, corner Fishermans Road and Chislehurst Avenue, Stratham.
The celebration is a community event and open to everyone.
Further information: Jane Hammond 040 392 6467