Today in the Pilliga a contingent of health care workers are peacefully protesting Santos’ 850 well Narrabri Gas Project proposal and the current construction of the Leewood CSG wastewater facility.
Nurses and midwives at the protest are joined and supported by the New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Association. In 2014 the NSWNMA passed a resolution to support the actions of members protesting this dangerous industry in their pursuit of health for all. The protesters call on the NSW Government to ban all CSG activity in NSW.
Nurses and midwives at the site say as health carers they felt a responsibility to stand up for the health of the environment as its direct human health impacts. They are concerned about the impacts to the Great Artesian Basin, the release of toxins and known carcinogens into the environment, the harm to communities created by gas companies who cause conflict and division, the health risks to workers and the social impact on their families, the impact on farming and food production and the long term risks to the health of future generations.
Union delegate Angie Gittus from Murwillumbah says, “It’s our obligation as health care workers to protect health and prevent harm and as health carers we feel a responsibility to address climate change which we know to be the biggest public health risk we are facing. “
Heather Dunn is a midwife at Lismore Base Hospital and also a union delegate. “As a midwife and a mother I am here to stand up to protect today’s children and those yet to be born. Studies show that the risks to small and unborn children from CSG are far greater than the risks to adults.
“With mounting evidence on the impacts of CSG on human health it is becoming clear that this industry must be halted in NSW before it gains a foothold.
“Peaceful protest is increasing in the Pilliga as the nation becomes aware of the many different impacts this industry will have on human life. Health is just one of those impacts” finished Heather.
On Tuesday five women aged between 50 and 75 were arrested whilst dressed as ‘climate angels’ at the Santos Leewood site. These arrests bring the total number of protestors charged at the site to 27 over the past month.