Gemma and Aunty Joyce with the declaration on bark to say no to fracking and mining for gas in the Wide Bay Burnett.
Gemma and Aunty Joyce with the declaration on bark to say no to fracking and mining for gas in the Wide Bay Burnett. Violet Whitaker

Butchulla unite against fracking the Wide Bay

THE push for a permanent ban on fracking in the Wide Bay has ramped up on the back of a major demonstration and the expiry of two high profile exploration licences.

It comes after dozens of Butchulla locals signed a declaration on bark, taking to the beach with like-minded conservationists last month to call on the State Government to block Blue Energy from future fracking.

Hosted by conservation group East Booral Water4Life in December, protesters hoped the declaration would hinder any plans mining and gas giants had for the region.

The sign on the beach to show the State Government the Butchella people do not wish to co-exist with gasfields in the WBB.
The sign on the beach to show the State Government the Butchella people do not wish to co-exist with gasfields in the WBB. Violet Whitaker

Blue Energy, which holds exploration licences for thousands of square kilometres of land in the region, had two of its licences expire on December 31.

One current licence remains and is due to expire on March 31.

A Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy spokesperson yesterday confirmed the permit would not be renewed.

East Booral Water4Life spokeswoman Lisa Rossini said the Butchulla people had always been supportive of the movement to stop fracking but the recent declaration signified an escalation in their conservation efforts.

They have always been on board and come to events to support us but the

"The bark declaration shows they (the Butchulla) are fully united and how serious they are about standing against fracking our region," Ms Rossini said.

The bark declaration states the Butchulla people are the custodians of the land and are "together against gas fields and fracking".

"We say no to fracking, we call the government to hear us and take action," the declaration reads.

Ms Rossini said the Wide Bay was in a unique position in the fight against gas mining.

"Fracking hasn't started here so we are able to stop it before it starts," she said.

"If fracking starts here it will contaminate our ground water.

"Fracking is unconventional gas mining and it is much more detrimental to environment with ongoing effects."

"Knowledge has grown a lot in the last three years.

"Originally if you said fracking people would say 'what is that?' but now 50 to 60 percent more know what it is and can form an opinion."

An independent study conducted by 20 conservation groups around the Wide Bay allegedly showed 98 per cent of residents were opposed to local fracking.

In February 2017, the Water4Life group presented a 'gas field free' declaration to the Fraser Coast Regional Council, listing every street in East Booral which had pledged support.



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