THE TransGrid project, electricity prices, coal seam gas mining and mining and exploration licences were the major topics discussed at the Manning Alliance’s first annual conference held in Wingham on Saturday.
Chairman of the Alliance, Peter Epov said the conference “addressed all the tough and key issues that are and will be affecting the Manning Valley and it laid out the road map for the Alliance’s activities for 2013.”
Peter hailed the conference part of the Alliance’s campaign to regain dignity and respect, “For the community, for the little people, for the battlers and for the people on the land and in the bush.”
The conference heard from a number of high profile speakers including member for Lyne Rob Oakeshott, the director of network regulation with the Australian Energy Regulator John Skinner, author and Alliance patron Di Morrissey, founder and president of Lock the Gate Drew Hutton, celebrated author of the book ‘Rich Land Waste Land’ Sharon Munro and local author Susan Duncan. The Alliance’s Peter Epov and Bruce Robertson also addressed the crowd.
“We deliberately selected and invited a number of eminent speakers, people who can be described as qualified and some who are experts in their field to address the issues that will have serious impact on our community,” Mr Epov said.
“All our speakers gave us wonderful presentations and everyone who left the conference spoke glowingly about the opportunity to get first hand information from people who really know what is going on about the issues that will affect our lives.”
Rob Oakeshott mentioned the event on Facebook saying there was a great turnout at the Manning Alliance’s annual conference in Wingham.
“There's plenty of work to do on CSG and energy reform, but these guys make it a lot easier. Thanks,” he wrote.
An outcome from the conference is that the Alliance is finalising a comprehensive and detailed response to the Rollinson Review of the Energy Needs of the Mid North Coast which focused heavily on the local government areas, which were directly impacted by the TransGrid Project.
“It’s hoped to put an end to the entire sad and sorry saga,” Mr Epov said.
The conference heard about the expansion of coal seam gas mining and aired concerns about the threat of environmental damage reported in other regions where the practice is already happening.
Mr Epov said the Alliance will be launching its next campaign on coal seam gas in March which will follow the theme “It’s Time to Care.”
The conference also called for an open and public debate on mining exploration licences in the region.
“Do we really need to tear up the entire country and the precious land, the rivers that we need for our water and the air that we need to breathe for a very limited and restricted return, which will have longer and lasting consequence for our future generations? Isn’t it time we started to balance the expediency with the future survival of this nation and its role and place in the world?” Mr Epov questioned.
He praised the speakers for their involvement and thanked all who assisted in the preparation and staging of the conference.
“This conference has clearly set the road map and the priorities and the agenda for our activities in 2013,” Mr Epov said.