Alison Marchant tells us why she was passionate about stopping Fracking. ‘The past 4 and half years, I have dedicated my time to a community campaign that was concerned about unconventional gas mining which is known as Fracking. Throughout that time, I have joined my local community group to create awareness and act to protect our water, environment, agriculture, tourism and community health. I have become very passionate about communities having a voice and being a part of the wider decision-making process.’
What inspired you to try to make a difference?
My community inspired me. When the Western Victorian community were faced with Fracking, it was a very stressful time, especially for rural farmers, but I saw people step way out of their comfort zone to fight. I firmly believe there is no use complaining unless you’re willing to be a part of the solution. Communities as a united voice, can drive the change we are after.
What have you achieved?
We achieved the ultimate dream, when the Andrews Government legislated a ban on Fracking. It lifted a great deal of uncertainty and concern off rural Victoria and secured our world renowned clean and green agricultural reputation. We as a grassroots community movement, achieved more than just a Fracking Ban, we also found new leaders in our community, many who have continued to be active in their own towns with new causes.
Have there been any particularly funny experiences?
Just before the fracking ban announcement, several farmers from Western Victoria decided to try and get 2000 sheep to spell BAN – GAS in their paddock. Let me just say, we have very clever sheep and they were very successful. It has had nearly a quarter of a million views and the only unforeseen consequence was people thought they might be spelling ‘BANGAS’ ( pronounced BANGERS) – which is what the sheep might end up as! Watch it here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2M4feQuM9WU
Do you have a message for the people of Geelong?
The win against Fracking, is a wonderful example of people power and how democracy should work. It was nearly 5 years of community movement across the state, that was driven by extra-ordinary people. My message is to find what you are passionate about, network with like-minded people and set a vision you wish to see for the future. Because we all can contribute something positive to the lives of others; may it be mowing the lawns for your neighbour, volunteering at a sporting club or even buying a stranger a coffee.
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