THE community of Chittering declared itself Gasfield Free at a celebration event recently, after an extensive surveying process found 99.4 per cent of residents surveyed wanted to make the declaration.
Volunteers from the Gasfield Free Lake Chittering group door knocked for months, asking residents if they would like to declare the locality of (Upper) Chittering Gasfield Free.
Present at the event to accept the community’s declaration was Moore MLA Shane Love and Labor candidate for Moore Barni Norton.
Shire of Chittering Councillor Don Gibson was also present.
Local landholder and surveyor Debra Wilson from the Gasfield Free Lake Chittering group said the results showed that those gas companies did not have a social licence to explore or drill in Chittering, and demanded action, not just words, from local politicians.
“We surveyed as many residents as we could in the locality of Chittering, and when we found people were not home we would leave them an information package with our contact details, in order to get their views on the declaration,” Mrs Wilson said.
“We were pleased that the local politicians attended our event, but we need them to act on that now.
“We’re asking them to make a commitment and get their parties onside to ensure there will be no gas fields in our region.”
Local resident Toby Black said Chittering was a rural community with farms, tourism, wetlands, horses and people who live here for the tranquillity.
“We do not need or want a reckless gas industry coming into our region and turning our landscape into an industrialised gasfield,” he said.
“Local politicians need to respect that if they want to get our votes.
“We have made a decision as a community, not matter the politicians say or do, that our water and air is precious to us, and we won’t have our community at risk for a short term invasive gas industry.”
Mr Black said residents had a right to say no to gas fields.
“At the moment they (politicians) are making the right noises, but we can’t see the strong action that we need to protect us,” he said.
“We are the first community in the Shire of Chittering area to declare itself gas field free and we join more than 415 communities around Australia who have done the same.”
Chittering is included in a gas exploration permit area covering a large part of the Swan Valley, Bullsbrook, Bindoon and further north.
The permit is held by Southern Sky Energy and Macallum Group Ltd, who have stated they are considering future unconventional gas production in the area.