Lane Cove Local Identity – Sally Kennedy from Lane Cove Coal and Gas Watch

sally kennedy
Cracked pavements in dried up river bed in Sydney’s drinking water catchment. Caused by subsidence due to long wall mining

On the blog today, we meet Sally Kennedy, Lane Cove Local and Environmental Activist. We were fascinated as to why a city gal was so involved in the Lane Cove Coal and Gas Watch.  This is why….


As I sat on my friend’s back veranda taking in the rural surroundings of the Upper Hunter property his words started to sink in  “If the proposed coal mine goes ahead the mine’s boundary fence will be 25 meters away from this veranda.” “Yep, on the other side of my garden fence….”

That was when I started to take an interest in the impact of coal mining on rural communities, prime agricultural land and drinking water catchments*.

How could the pristine Bylong Valley, famous for breeding racehorses and the home of Natural Sequence Farming, be dug up for a coalmine? How could landowner’s lives be thrown into total disarray as they faced the prospect of everything they had worked for being lost?

Since then I have found out a lot more about the impacts of coal mining and also coal seam gas. Enough for me to get active and become a founding member of Lane Cove Coal and Gas Watch.  Our group started two years ago with a handful of people and now has over 75 active members, hundreds of supporters and 6,000 names on our petition. We kicked off with the Land, Water, Future campaign advocating no-go zones for coal mining and coal seam gas on prime agricultural land, drinking water catchments and special wild places.

cracked rock
Cracked rock out crops caused by subsidence from long wall mining in Sydney’s drinking water catchment

In that time, the Lane Cove group has hosted public forums, information evenings and movie screenings to bring attention to the issues of both coal mining and coal seam gas across the Lane Cove electorate from Greenwich to Gladesville. Using stalls in the plaza and local festivals we have collected signatures on our petition and have door knocked four Lane Cove suburbs with a mining survey. The survey results show without any doubt that Lane Cove residents support no-go zones for coal mining and coal seam gas in drinking water catchments (90%) and prime agricultural land (84%).

All our activities, survey results, and petition numbers have been discussed with the NSW Minister for Energy and Resources, Lane Cove MP Anthony Roberts, in face to face meetings asking him to represent his constituents on these issues.

The Land, Water, Future campaign, taken up by many community groups in NSW was hugely successful, with the NSW government buying back or cancelling 20 coal seam gas licenses in NSW including four in Sydney’s drinking water catchment, AGL and Metgasco pulling out of their coal seam gas projects in Gloucester and the Northern Rivers respectively, and coal mine expansions in the Hunter Valley being stopped.

If you are interested in supporting the work of this group there is still much more to do with new coalmines proposed for the Liverpool Plains, Gloucester Valley, Upper Hunter Valley and the Southern Highlands near Berrima. Plus the SANTOS coal seam gas exploration project in the Pilliga State Forrest near Narrabri.

There are many ways to get involved. Join our letter writing team. (We have been published many times in the North Shore Times and Sydney Morning Herald.) Come and work on our stalls. Join us to meet with Minister Roberts. Help with one of our events – letterbox drops, publicity, media, catering and more! There’s a role for everyone.

I have lived in the Lane Cove Council area for the past nine years and have discovered the strong interest residents have for the local environment and its protection. It is these people who have joined our group to protect the environment beyond Lane Cove.

Those of us living in Lane Cove, benefit from the work of those who came before us, protecting our bushland from development, creating the things I appreciate most about Lane Cove, the leafy neighbourhoods and bushland reserves. It’s our turn to give back, this time to the broader NSW community.

Lane Cove Coal and Gas Watch meets on the first Monday of each month in the Lane Cove Library from 6.30pm till 8.30pm to hear from guest speakers and plan events.

If you would like to join them contact Sally on 0424 330 323 or email [email protected]

sally kennedy
Checking out the highly fertile vertosol soils of the Liverpool Plains, under threat from the Shenhua Watermark open cut coalmine

PURPOSE OF LANE COVE COAL AND GAS WATCH (part of the Lane Cove Bushland and Conservation Society

As a community group our purpose is:

    1. To campaign for no-go zones for coal and coal seam gas in drinking water catchments, prime agricultural land and special wild places.
    2. To campaign for public health protections by setting strong limits on air, noise, water and carbon pollution from coal and gas developments.
    3. To campaign for community rights by giving landowners and local councils the rights to refuse access to mining companies.
    4. To raise awareness of the impacts of coal and coal seam gas within the Lane Cove Electorate and Anthony Roberts’ ministerial responsibilities relating to this.

To amplify and support the messages of coal and coal seam gas campaigns in NSW and other significant campaigns in Australia.