Katherine MarchmentI am a student studying youth work at Box Hill TAFE in Melbourne.

I have lived in the city for the past 18 months, but most of the rest of my 45 years has been spent living and working in rural areas.

I am no inner city hippy.

During my life I have fenced thousands of kilometres, marked hundreds of lambs, picked tonnes of fruit and veg and rounded up thousands of cattle. I have worked on rural properties in Queensland, NSW and the Northern Territory as well as hundreds of unpaid hours on my parents’ various farms.

I think I have made a fair contribution to the rural economy and gotten to know the land pretty well. As someone who has been down to the last foot of water in my rainwater tank in a drought, I have a pretty good understanding about where my food and water comes from.

Unfortunately politicians, and the public here in Melbourne, generally believe the big ad campaigns by APPEA.

They would rather believe the pretty pictures and the spin about the industry being safe than the terrifying things people opposed to CSG have to say.

They have no concept of what it means to have a 50 metre drop in your bore or suddenly to have useless contaminated water when the CSG companies move in or the sickness from air pollutants that can last for months even after you move.

Case in point – my next door neighbour found it very interesting that I was growing veges in a little plot outside my flat. He said he liked rocket so I grew some and offered it to him when it matured. He was worried about it being SAFE! because it didn’t come packaged from Coles. I told him to just wash it and eat it but he still didn’t trust it. The man works as a CHEF!

I came to be a CSG activist when I went to a meeting in the Northern Rivers and heard the research and personal experiences of Drew Hutton, Dr Marianne Lloyd-Smith and Dwayne Pratzky.

On their recommendation, I watched the movie Gasland.

Since then, I have had family and friends in the Northern Rivers and Queensland directly affected by this issue and I am alarmed and angry at what they are going through.

I am fighting to keep this industry out of Victoria.