IT MAY be one of the Clarence Valley's outermost communities, but the Ewingar voice was heard loud and clear in the busy council chambers yesterday afternoon during debate about the future of coal seam gas mining.
In a deputation to council during the environment, economic and community committee meeting, councillors heard how, from the mighty Clarence River's upper reaches, it take four days for the water to travel from Ewingar and any damage in the north would quickly filter down.
Representative from the Ewingar community, Susanne Hopfner, and local John Edwards, spoke in support of a notice of motion put forward by Cr Sue Hughes.
It's not often our elected officials are rewarded with applause in the chambers but those in the gallery also supporting the motion put their hands together when councillors not only voted to support the move for council to have a moratorium on CSG and unconventional mining but also Cr Ian Tiley's promise to try to fix the wording further to make it more watertight.
Cr Hughes said there was wide- spread concern about the impact of mining on aquifers and with so much "ambivalence and uncertainty" she felt it necessary for more research to be done.
As part of the notice of motion, Cr Hughes wrote that council "acknowledged its statutory responsibilities ... as a matter of social responsibility" and would support a moratorium on CSG and unconventional mining activities within the Clarence Valley until there was clear land-use legislation by the NSW Government to regulate the industry.
She also moved to note the 35 recommendations in the report from the NSW Government's General Purpose Standing Committee No. 5 on Coal Seam Gas and write to the NSW Government expressing the desire for the outcomes to be dealt with as a matter of urgency.
At last month's anti-CSG rally in Lismore, Mayor Richie Williamson was handed a list of roads from the residents of the Ewingar district, declaring the road reserves CSG free. Yesterday's motion also accepted this list. The recommendations will have to be ratified in two weeks at council's ordinary meeting.
But, speaking in favour of the mouth, Cr Ian Tiley said he was concerned it wouldn't go far enough.