A horseback trek from Clarence Valley to Canberra passed through Bylong on Wednesday, protesting coal seam gas and promoting “clean water as our most valuable resource”.
This afternoon “The Woop Woop March” arrives in Rylstone after six weeks crossing the state’s bushland, country roads and travelling stock routes.
Leading the constant brigade of about seven riders to Parliament House is Glenugie stockman Mick Franklin. His family have been on the land since the 1800s.
“We are protesting CSG and just as importantly promoting sustainable farming and clean water,” he said.
“I’ve donated a few horses and invited anybody to come and join us on the ride from Clarence to Canberra. You don’t have to be an expert rider as we’ve had some riders on the journey who were still learning.”
The troupe have seen their neighbours fight CSG battles in the Clarence Valley and are concerned about potentially damaging effects to the water supply.
Before this trek began Mr Franklin took “fact finding” trips to Tara and Chinchilla, through the Wieambilla Estate in Queensland. He said it was evident how many of the country’s regional towns had become “industrialised”.
He said this was evidence enough to show how the “big smoke” had influence over “woop woop” – that being anywhere outside two kilometres from city limits.
“There is no regard for water. They say mining and farming co-exist. Well that might be true but only because mining companies have bought each piece of land in the area,” he said.
Water on Mr Franklin’s property is spring fed and CSG drilling has started within five kilometres of his property. He said once this water was destroyed he would be forced into drought.
Mr Franklin believes if the state and federal governments have power to encroach on people’s land he has the power to head to Canberra and discuss options on his terms.
He also believes reusing emissions and renewable energy is the answer to “our power problem”.
“Septics and sewage, piggeries, dairies, sawmills, and rubbish tips and biofuel can all produce power. Then there is solar, solar-thermal, wind and tidal energies. It’s more than enough and the proof is out there,” Mr Franklin said.
The trip is expected to conclude at Parliament House the week of November 25. The Woop Woop March is calling on residents to pass on letters they can take to federal parliament as part of a travelling mailbox or known as “The Pony Express”.