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Country women's group joins anti-fracking lobby

Story appeared in Canberra Times April 4
By Rosslyn Beeby

The NSW branch of the County Women's Association has endorsed the anti-fracking movement, using its Facebook site to urge members to attend a protest rally in Sydney next month.
''Yes, it's quite an unusual step for us. We usually write letters and tend to work a little more behind the scenes,'' branch president Elaine Armstrong said.
''But coal seam gas mining is a major concern for our members. It will adversely affect our future food supplies, we'll see good farming land go out of production and pressure from gas companies wanting access to farms is also adding to the stress and complications of farming.''

Mrs Armstrong said the CWA had hoped the NSW government would heed calls from rural communities for a moratorium on coal seam gas exploration.
''That didn't happen, so we feel the government hasn't fulfilled what was expected of them. They have broken promises,'' she said.

The CWA is one of eight groups actively supporting an anti-fracking rally to be held outside the Parliament of NSW in Sydney on May 1 that will see protesters bused in from across the state. Taking a stand on coal seam gas mining puts the normally apolitical women's voluntary group - Australia's biggest at 44,000 members - in radical company.

Organised by NSW Farmers to highlight rural concerns over food security and groundwater pollution, the ''Protect Our Land and Water'' rally is also supported by social media activist group GetUp and rural anti-fracking campaign alliance Lock the Gate.

Yesterday morning, the CWA posted a link to the rally on its Facebook page, suggesting members ''make the effort to be there''.


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