A new lobby group has formed in the NSW town of Gloucester to challenge the perspective of hard-line, anti-mining protest groups.
Advance Gloucester is a local community group formed to promote and support any commercial enterprises considered to be a benefit to the general population of the town, including mining and exploration.
The group attracted 24 people to its first meeting on April 16, and doubled those numbers at the second.
Advance Gloucester president Bill Williams is a dairy farmer on the Avon River, who said that they are not a pro-mining group, but they do believe that mining is beneficial to the district.
Williams acknowledged the benefits that mining has brought to the community in the past.
“There are many in our group that often pose the question – what would our heritage be if gold mining wasn’t allowed at Copeland? It attracted newcomers to the area, all keen to make their fortune.”
Another of the founding members, Rod Gloucester, said the group will stand up for farmers and business owners who see the benefit of allowing mining on their property.
“Given poor beef returns and threats of rising costs…the area is actually struggling,” he said.
“We’re not a rubber stamp group… we want to look at all proposals that come across the radar and look at the in a rational sense.”
Yancoal have two coal mines in the Gloucester Basin, Duralie and Stratford, which suffered job losses late last year, and AGL has been conducting CSG exploration in the area.
Gloucester local council rejected Yancoal’s proposals for an expansion of the Stratford mine in January last year.