Local and expert groups coalesce to support industry

December 3rd, 2014

There’s a growing movement to give voice to residents and business owners in regional areas who support the development of natural gas and resource projects.

At the same time, retired and semi-retired industry experts are coming together to correct what they say is ill-informed commentary about the oil and gas industries.

These moves come in the wake of coordinated anti-development campaigns from activist groups and individual protestors – many of whom have little or no connection to the community that they are protesting in.

As this article in The Australian says:

Activists move from site to site to add their protest expertise to a range of causes, often engaging in civil disobedience activities and providing the infrastructure for others to join the cause.

The movement is sparking a backlash from local residents around many of the sites, who rail against outsiders who say they are protesting on their behalf.”

In Narrabri, the local Chamber of Commerce head had had a few things to say about the activities of protestors who are not from the local area. Russell Stewart wrote in a recent opinion piece that, while he respected people’s right to protest:

“The last thing our community needs now is the ill-informed opinion of an individual we haven’t even heard of before, and who doesn’t live in or contribute to this close bush community, spreading false information for his own benefits, whatever they may be.”

So, what happens when a community is faced with a campaign of misinformation? It fights back – and in the case of Narrabri, that has come in the form of the YES2GAS campaign.

You can hear an interview with YES2GAS spokeswoman Louise Tout here as she explains the rationale behind the group.

Elsewhere in NSW, a similar group has coalesced in the Gloucester Valley, following concerns about the way the region is being perceived by other parts of the State.

Advance Gloucester is at pains to explain that they’re not a pro-mining group – rather, they’re in favor of attracting industry and investment into the region that will benefit the local community.

In South Australia and Western Australia, retired and semi-retired industry experts are coming together under the banner of The Norwood Resource to provide a counterpoint to the campaign of misinformation that they say is alarmist.

You can read more about The Norwood Resource here.

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