Their is a positive vibe resonating throughout the community after the Planning and Assessment Commission (PAC) refused the development application from Gloucester Resources Limited (GRL) to develop an open cut coal mine in close proximity of the town centre – and only 900m from the Forbesdale residential estate. After a protracted and punctuated determination process, the time and energy residents expended on protecting their homes, farms, waterways, and the amenity of their picturesque valley, can now be channelled into creating progressive industries for a sustainable future. Energise Gloucester is already in the process of applying for funding so they can conduct a feasibility study into a solar energy project. But for this to happen Gloucestor Groundswell says the government needs to provide the community with some certainty by extinguishing all the mining and petroleum Exploration Licenses (EL’s) that cover the region. The non-profit, process-focused group of concerned residents who came originally came together over a decade ago to stop AGL pursing coal seam gas extraction in their valley, are determined to finally hold the government accountable.
“We are currently writing to the minister and have collected 5000 signatures on our petition and we will not stop until we get 10 000,” Groundswell Gloucester Chair, Julie Lyford OAM, says. However, they remain cautiously optimistic about any finality as GRL has a six month time frame during which they can appeal the decision in Land and Environment Court. “We will also be asking the minister why a public meeting instead of a public hearing was held as if a hearing had been conducted the right of either side to a merits appeal would have been extinguished,” she explains.