DECLARING your community Gasfield Free is one of the best ways to protect it from becoming an industrialised gasfield.
While a community declaration has no legal standing it does have value as a community statement.
Declaring your community Gasfield Free involves going house to house, road by road asking residents if they would like their area to go gasfield free.
The results of the neighbour to neighbour survey are tallied and if more than 50 per cent of the community wants to declare their district Gasfield Free then a declaration is made. This usually takes place in the form of a community celebration where the results are officially handed to local councillors or the local MP. (Check out the videos of community declaration days in WA below).
The surveys are conducted in a methodical and thorough way with every household in the survey area approached to take part.
The survey process involves many conversations and discussions among neighbours. This acts to inform the community of a current gas lease or gasfield threat as well as helping to build resilience in the community and awareness about the value of water and existing industries in an area.
When a community makes a Gasfield Free declaration it is sending a strong message to the gas industry and the government that the industry does not have a social licence to operate in the area.
A social licence is a community’s acceptance of an industry and the gas industry needs a social licence to operate as it needs to get access to land for its wells and infrastructure.
Although oil and gas companies in WA can force their way onto anyone’s land as long as it is over 2000sqm in size, it is much easier for the companies if individual landholders allow them access without complaint.
A community is anything its residents decide it can be and in larger areas distinct communities can make their own declarations.
The declarations are not dependent on existing council boundaries or towns. Sections of a town or district can be declared Gasfield Free.
Across Australia there are now more than 440 coal and gasfield free communities.
In WA we currently have 19 Gasfield Free communities from Margaret River to Exmouth.
There are more underway.
If you would like to find out how you can be part of this powerful social movement please contact your local Lock the Gate representative by using the contact links on this site.
We can provide information, survey kits and training as well as support to help you undertake your survey.