FREE US: Cr Denis Chapman on his horse Fleur, with Violet Whitaker (front) of the East Booral Water4Life Group, Mungar musician Wal Neilsen his son Lachlan and (back) Jannean Dean who is also part of the organizing committee will march for a gasfield-free region.
FREE US: Cr Denis Chapman on his horse Fleur, with Violet Whitaker (front) of the East Booral Water4Life Group, Mungar musician Wal Neilsen his son Lachlan and (back) Jannean Dean who is also part of the organizing committee will march for a gasfield-free region. contributed

Come help protect our pristine region

WAL NEILSEN is locking his gate in the hope that no one walks into his home and starts what could be a natural disaster.

The Mungar musician and hobby farmer said he was passionate about protecting our waterways and river system.

Wal has joined East Booral Water4Life Group affiliated with Lock the Gate in the fight against coal seam gas and fracking especially in the Wide Bay Burnett.

"I was quite keen to be involved with the event,” he said.

"This whole thing affects me because I live out on the Mary River.

"The Mary River water from where I am from, in times of drought, supplies Maryborough with their town water.

"It really affects everybody in the area - if that water gets contaminated obviously everybody is at risk.

"And not just that - there's the wildlife - the Mary River Turtle which is also extinct as it is, lungfish, Mary River Cod.

"There has been a lot of effort gone in over the years with Landcare and those type of organisations to restore the cod population.”

Wal also mentioned that it wasn't just the damage to the eco.

"It is a loss of rights really,” he said.

"These people can come into anyone's property, I'm not sure how they have the rights to do that, but the best thing we can do is to sign our gates with the Lock the Gate and gives us our best rights possible.

"They sell this thing with gas is a cleaner energy but what is the point when it can ruin river system.

"Why try and have a cleaner burning energy - as far as I'm concerned it is no improvement to burning coal.”

Violet Whitaker of the East Booral Water4Life Group affiliated with Lock the Gate is passionate about her region and is part of the organising committee for the Water4Life Ride.

"The Wide Bay Burnett is threatened by 3000sq km of shale gasfields which means it is under ATP's (Authority to Prospect),” she said.

"All shale gasfields are fracked multiple times over the life of the wells. Shale gasfields and fracking pose serious risks to our groundwater, our farms, our communities health and our existing sustainable industries.”

Violet said there were 19 communities across the Wide Bay Burnett have declared themselves gasfield free.

"The 20th community, being Susan River, will declare itself gasfield free on Saturday,” she said.

The ceremony will be held at Susan River Homestead with lunch at noon and entertainment and poetry by Guy McLean. For more information and lunch orders phone 4121 6846.

On Sunday the Water4Life Ride will leave the Elizabeth Rose Gardens at 10am march along Kent St to Queens Park where a ceremony will be held at 11am with Mungar musician Wal Neilsen entertaining.

Wal said to Violet when she was looking for a musician that he would be the perfect person.

"To do this would mean a lot to me,” Wal said.

"I am in the process of writing a song for the event and sing it on the day.

"Contamination from the fracking would be devastating.

"I think about the future of my kids.

"I would hate to see a beautiful place to turn into a waste.

"It's my home.”

FAST FACTS

Ceremony held at Susan River Homestead, Maryborough Hervey Bay Rd from noon on Saturday, September 2.

A march, ride/walk, will be held on Sunday, September 3 leaving the Elizabeth Rose Gardens at 10am. A ceremony will be held from 11am at Queens Park with entertainment.

For more information email eastbooralwater 4lifegroup@gmail.com.

DID YOU KNOW?

Fracking was the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks, boreholes, etc. so as to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas.



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