THE Vines has declared itself gasfield free at a community celebration on Monday March 6, with 98.8 per cent of the community saying yes to the declaration.
The declaration followed an extensive survey of the community, which involved residents going door-to-door asking their neighbours if they would like to declare the area gasfield free.
Marg Whan from The Vines Against Fracking Group said the results were a clear indication of the community’s concerns at moves by the unconventional gas industry to explore for gas in the area.
“We are on the edge of the Swan Valley, and we are saying that the industry does not have a social licence to operate in this region, and the exploration permit over our area should be cancelled,” she said.
“We moved here for the proximity to the Swan and Chittering valleys, and we do not want an invasive and risky industry moving into our communities and threatening our land, our water and our health.’’
She said the event was a coming together of the community to celebrate their right to determine their own future and enjoy their land and community.
Lock the Gate Alliance regional coordinator Simone van Hattem said The Vines was the latest in more than 425 communities around Australia who had declared themselves gasfield free, and the second in the region after Chittering declared themselves in December with 99.4 per cent of the community agreeing.
Ms van Hattem said the declaration came after a Swan Hills election candidate forum was held in Bullsbrook last Wednesday, with Swan Hills MLA Frank Alban and WA Labor and Greens candidates in attendance.
“Community members from across Ellenbrook, The Vines and Bullsbrook came along to the film night and asked candidates what they would do to protect the region,” she said.
“Labor candidate Jessica Shaw and Greens candidate Evan Webb supported a permanent ban in the Swan Hills area, with Liberal MP Frank Alban saying he doesn’t support the industry, but did not commit to any promises about how to stop it.
“At a similar event in West Swan last Monday, West Swan MLA Rita Saffioti stated Labor’s position of a ban in the Swan Valley, Peel and South West region, Greens candidate Beth McMullan standing for a state-wide ban, and One Nation candidate for Agriculture Rod Caddies stating he wanted to see a ban on fracking.’’