THE anti gas mining movement is gathering steam across our state and, indeed, across the country.
The networking capabilities of farmers have always been strong, but they are becoming ever more complex and mature in the face of multinational companies’ agitation for access to resources that lay underground.
Farmers and landholders are finding themselves increasingly thrust into a world inhabited by “official” mining company representatives who gain access from the roadside to undertake “research”, never to be seen again.
But there is a growing network of concerned individuals and they are picking up the phone and calling their peers and associates and drawing on each of their experiences to build a fuller picture of what they are up against.
This newspaper has reported on land being rendered unusable because of land and fences washed away as gas pipelines are built.
And it has reported on farmers’ exasperation at fighting for two years to receive recompense for reparation works totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.
But this is not what is shaping people living outside the capital cities into activists.
Each and every farmer knows they need land and water to make a living, as have all those who went before and all who will come after.
It is a deep-seated concern for the integrity of these essentials that is pushing farmers, indigenous people and townspeople across the nation to bang signs on their gates, pick up the phone and talk tactics with their neighbours, to fly interstate and convey to equally concerned crowds what is happening in their part of the world.
This is grassroots democracy at work and it is happening across the country now.
This is not an issue dominated by any faction of politics, nor even politicians.
There is a delicate balance to be struck by individuals who have put themselves forward for election to represent the best interests of the people of this country.
As the Nationals gather in Orange this weekend for its first Central Regional Conference, concerned residents gather in Coonamble to discuss a project they are against, but have had no say in whether it encroaches upon their land.
The Nationals Barwon MP Kevin Humphries has declined an invitation to the meeting.
Our politicians are being sent a clear message: fail to protect our land and water at your peril.