Vigil continues

Members of Manning Clean Water Action Group, Groundswell Gloucester and local residents protesting
Members of Manning Clean Water Action Group, Groundswell Gloucester and local residents protesting

A vigil continues following last week's announcement that resources minister Anthony Roberts approved AGL's plans to frack four coal seam gas wells at Gloucester.

The minister made the announcement last Wednesday along with a renewal of AGL's Gloucester Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) 285 for six years.

As the news filtered through the community, a small group of protesters from the Manning Valley made their way to Gloucester.

Members of Manning Clean Water Action Group joined Groundswell Gloucester members and other locals in a few locations last Thursday.

The Gloucester Advocate reported a small group of protesters set up signs and placards on the Bucketts Way outside the AGL headquarters in Gloucester and a second larger group had gathered outside the gate of a property on Fairbairns Lane.

Groundswell Gloucester chair Julie Lyford said the protesters planned to hold daily vigils between 9am and 5pm outside AGL headquarters and in strategic locations along Fairbairns Lane.

According to the Advocate the protesters seemed relaxed and at ease, sitting on camp chairs and enjoying cups of tea.

A security guard employed by AGL was filming the gathering on Fairbairns Lane, warning those present that if anything illegal occurred it would be referred to police.

Two security guards were also stationed outside the Bucketts Way entrance to the AGL building.

AGL is in the process of erecting an extension of the security fence surrounding its compound in the industrial estate.

Protester Carol Bennett told the Advocate "I'm here because I care".

Groundswell Gloucester spokesman and property owner Ed Robinson (pictured back row on right) said the protesters were in it for the long haul.

"This is day one. These things take a while to build," he said.

"It will be interesting to see what the reactions are. I don't think AGL will bother negotiating. I think the attitude will be 'get out of the road'."

Mr Robinson said protesters were expected to filter in from other locations over the coming days and weeks.

He said a development application had been submitted to Gloucester council for a temporary camp for protesters on his property.

Council is seeking additional information from Mr Robinson and Groundswell Gloucester on the camp.

"At this stage we don't have a facility to offer, so we're encouraging people that do want to come to stay at the local caravan park," he said.

Mr Robinson said he was appalled by the government's decision to approve the fracking of four gas wells.

"I can understand what AGL is up to," he said.

“It’s the collusion of the government I can’t understand.”