A GROUP of local residents including farmers, business people and ordinary citizens have banded together in a united show of support for mining in the Gloucester valley.
Dairy farmer Bill Williams organised the gathering at his property midway between Stratford and Gloucester last Thursday.
Mr Williams’ property shares a boundary with AGL and is just a short distance away from Yancoal’s Stratford mine.
He said his family had been farming in the Gloucester valley since 1903 and co-existing with mining for nearly two decades.
“We’ve never had any problem with dust or gas. Some of the information out there about mining is just wrong,” he said.
Mr Williams said a recent article in The Land newspaper had prompted him to gather supporters of mining in the valley together to show that the industry was accepted.
Councillor Jim Henderson, a vocal supporter of the resources industry in Gloucester, was one of those present at the meeting.
“Gas is our future,” he said.
“The arrival of the resources industry has given us the potential to attract more industry to the town.
“The former council was pro CSG (coal seam gas). The current council is very negative.
“I believe that negativity is impacting on our community getting the benefits from resource industry later on.”
Former mayor Barry Ryan was also critical of the current council and its take on the mining industry.
He said all but one of the current crop of councillors had pandered to pressure from green groups.
Consultant Geoff Marshall said he believed mining offered a chance for young people to gain employment in the district.
“We’ve lost 120 jobs in the past three months,” he said.
“We need to look at all the options available. We need to keep our young people here. They’re the strength of this community.”
Owner of King Street Lodge Steve Parkins said he believed there was too much misinformation about the mining industry.
“I came here four years ago and I was well aware of what was happening,” he said.
“I’ve had my fill of people telling me what I should be thinking and doing.
“There is a lot of ‘propaganda’ around town.”
Cr Henderson said he believed the anti-mining agenda was being pursued by active retirees who had moved to the town in the past two decades.
“I believe there’s a split between the people that have moved here in the past 10 to 15 years and others,” he said.
“These people are well connected in the public service and have nothing else to do but oppose the resources industry.”