Knitting Nannas worried about the world for future generations

Yesterday, the Hastings-Macleay Knitting Nannas met with Federal MP Pat
Conaghan in Port Macquarie to present him with their concerns about the impact of continuing fossil fuel extraction on a healthy environment.

“Our children and grandchildren cannot live without clean water and productive soils for farming” is the message they would like their local representative to take to Canberra and to his State colleagues.

The Hastings-Macleay Knitting Nannas Against Gas and Greed (KNAG) are one of more than 40 non-party political “loops” Australia wide. Since 2012 the Nannas have stood up for a healthy environment and opposed activities with negative consequences for future generations.

Every second Tuesday, the Nannas meet for a ‘knit-in’ at the Port Macquarie Town Green. With their yellow outfits and numerous posters they are a visible presence and attract the interest and comments of passers-by. Late last year, one such passer-by was recognised as Pat Conaghan and approached by a Nanna. He promised to meet another day with
time for a more detailed discussion.

This day finally came and five Nannas, all dressed in bright yellow, met with Pat Conaghan at the Chop ‘n Chill Café at the Town Green. One by one the Nannas presented their particular points of concern and their questions.

Every one of them is most concerned about the depletion and pollution of the ground water by the 850 gas wells planned by Santos in the Pilliga and with conditional permits given by the authorities.

  • Like many Australians we are quite incredulous that governments can permit gas extraction despite having a devastating impact on the ground water, in particular on the Great Artesian Basin which is vital for the survival of vast areas of the Australian inland.
  • Nannas visited farmers near Narrabri who depend on irrigation who are certain that the water table will be lowered due to the coal seam gas wells and that will be the end of farming the best soils in Australia.
  • During explorations, Santos already contaminated the aquifer in the Pillaga Forest with twenty times the safe limit of uranium and there have been numerous contamination events in the Queensland gasfields.
  • Instead of further support for fossil fuel extraction, we are asking the Federal Government to urgently develop and implement a plan for the transition to renewable energy hubs.

During the discussion, Ellen Whelan, one of the Nannas, said
“Our taxpayer dollars will deliver nearly three times as many renewables jobs (solar, wind and batteries) than gas will. These jobs will be delivered faster and cheaper than gas, without the greenhouse emissions from methane. It’s a no brainer.”

Mr Conaghan thanked the Knitting Nannas for raising their concerns with him over climate change and other environmental issues.

The Cowper MP said the Federal Government was working on continuing to increase renewables into the power grid.

“In the last two years we have increased renewables into the grid from seven percent up to 24 per cent,” he told the Nannas.

“During that timeframe, the Federal Government has never funded more in renewable energy.

“The Federal Government is also investing in waste to energy projects, gas-led transitioning to more renewables, sustainable logging practices, recycling and retraining opportunities.”

Mr Conaghan said he is committed to working with all constituents on issues they raise with him.

The Knitting Nannas will continues to raise their concerns with politicians from all sides and keep the community informed.

Media release on behalf of the Hastings Macleay Knitting Nannas
Christa Schwoebel
0248 678 959

Ellen Whelan
Port Macquarie
0427 856 130

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