Downstream worries

Taree is on the Manning River, downstream from Gloucester. Taree doesn’t have CSG or coal, but Gloucester has.

In a sane world the beautiful and bountiful Vale of Gloucester would not be even contemplated for these industries, but it has two coalmines, expanding, and a third, the Rocky Hill mine, proposed but being vigorously opposed, plus an approved AGL CSG project — equally opposed.


At the Taree Envirofair last Saturday, water was a big worry. Firstly, would the rain hold off? It did.

Secondly, how to alert Taree residents to the looming threat to their clean water supply if AGL’s fracking gas wells go ahead, with so little known about the aquifers with which they’ll be interfering?

Plus both coal wastewater and CSG produced water is contaminated and saline, and its disposal is always a hugely risky and still unresolved issue, especially in high rainfall areas.

Irrigating river flats with it doesn’t seem like a good idea if you want that river water to be clean. I think of this irrigating as simply a slower death by pollution than direct discharge into the river…

Taree certainly doesn’t want it.


The Manning Clean Water Action Group’s stall (MCWAG) had plenty of folk signing petitions and gathering info, and their red-T-shirted members proclaiming ‘Water not coal or CSG’ were highly visible throughout the Fair.


In between local entertainers, the Fig Jam stage was held by speakers like activist Jonathan Moylan (pictured), Chris Sheed from MCWAG, local solicitor Paul Lewers, Bruce Robertson (ex-Transgrid fighter from the Manning Alliance) and lastly, myself.

The message from us all was, in the end, similar: we are under grave and imminent threat of losing many precious resources like land and water, against the wishes of the people. 

None of our governments are yet taking the threats seriously. So we, the people, must stand up, speak out — and make them!

5 thoughts on “Downstream worries”

  1. Hi Lyla, yes I know there is potential for leases to be taken up in the region; where is there not?? It’s Pangaea Resources there isn’t it? But you don’t have active exploration.

  2. Hi Sharyn really enjoyed your talk at the Envirofair, just a little amendment though Taree and surrounding Manning Valley do have a number of mining leases including Petroleum. However they currently do not have PELs or Petroleum Exploration Licences at this point! Thanks for sharing your journey and your thoughts you are a inspirational lady

  3. Hi Jenny, always heartening that people like you and MHEG are out there informing and revving up more Australians, especially at events like that where city folk come. Please let me know what events MHEG’s up to any time so I can publicise for you!

  4. Thanks Sharyn for keeping us all posted on what’s happening in the Gloucester/Taree area. Isn’t it tragic that we have to keep hearing the words “under threat” in this beautiful and environmentally rich land of ours. But, that is the truth of the matter.
    Our Merriwa Healthy Environment Group in the Upper Hunter held it’s annual info stall at the Merriwa Festival of the Fleeces on Sat 8 June. The City folk who flocked to our small town and beautiful district expressed their dismay at the mine infested route through the Hunter Valley which they now travel to reach Merriwa; and then there’s delightful little Broke “oozing” with gas wells – a scary sight.
    On a positive note MHEG’s theme for the stall was “Renewable Energy”, and we were joined by MV Solar from Denman, who did a roaring business.
    Watch out, ye pollies and mining magnates, you might find you have a rooftop revolution on your hands!

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