‘We’re losing members over this, and we can’t afford
to lose members,’ said RFS volunteer Paul Botting.
2014-04-01 RFS volunteers from around the
region protest at the use of the Bentley Fire Station as a police command centre
during anti-gas protests.
Photo David Lowe
Members of our brigade are deeply concerned
by, and strongly opposed to, all coal seam gas exploration activities and the
environmental and social issues they would bring to our region. We also want to
ensure the protests against them will stay peaceful and rational.
The impending police operation at the Bentley site is not in relation to any
emergency services or disaster relief. It is an operation of exerting force
against the overwhelming majority of local residents who peacefully oppose the
imposition of coal seam gas mining on the northern rivers region. Their goal is
to forcibly remove non-violent protestors so that infrastructure can be brought
onto the land, with the intention of fracturing the earth as part of an ongoing
and widening coal seam gas exploration process.
I consider cooperation with police, in this instance, to be a political
statement by the RFS. If the RFS were to take sides then I firmly believe that
the thousands of people camping and protecting the land and water at Bentley
should be the ones receiving the cooperation, support and resources of the RFS
and it's members, rather than the police.
I understand I am not a lone voice and that at least one RFS member has resigned
over this decision, which is regrettable . We are volunteers and feel it our
duty to protect the community and the land. We do not feel that the RFS is
supporting this goal, by capitulating to the NSW police force, who are
apparently to be musclemen for Metgasco and the state government and the
inevitable tainting of our land and water, and way of life.
- Andy Gough
‘I would rather members protest than resign as I feel we provide an important
service to the community,’ said concerned Larnook RFS member Glen Jones.
‘We are opposed to the use of the station for this purpose when it is there to
protect the community and the land and we are opposed to the politicising of the
RFS,’ said Jones. ‘And though we take this action reluctantly, we take it
2014-03-28 - RFS volunteers at Bentley are
resigning after their fire station has been taken over by the police, against
local's wishes, to direct the 100 riot police and 100 regular police converging
to break the blockade
2014-03-29 Due Process? The information is that 100 riot squad
are part of the 200 police squad headed to Bentley to help
Metgasco get started. Bentley Fire
Brigade said no to the Riot Squad's request to use its station as a base. The
riot squad queries this with the Regional Commander who confirmed the No
decision. The riot squad then went to State level who secured them the use of
RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons
Facebook comment 28 March near Sydney
I write in response to a number of recent posts regarding exploratory gas
drilling that is scheduled to take place soon in our Northern Rivers Zone.
To suggest in any way that the NSWRFS is siding with, or
somehow in support of, the exploratory drilling is simply wrong.
As an agency, we are simply providing NSW Police with access
to one of our local RFS stations – nothing more, nothing less. NSWRFS members
will still have access to their station, particularly in the event of an
There are NO NSWRFS personnel involved in the Police operation
The NSWRFS acknowledges that all people, including our own
members, are entitled to their views on the exploratory drilling issue.
The NSWRFS respects those views, including one’s right to
Regardless of those rights however, criticism of the NSWRFS,
simply for doing nothing more than cooperating with the Police so that they may
do their job, is unfair and inappropriate
Metgasco are going to try and force their way into the
Northern Rivers despite overwhelming community
opposition. This is where Australians need to make a defining stand against the
CSG industry. Will you join them?