Farmers vow to block mining and CSG companies

Farmers vow to block mining and CSG companies

NSW Farmers President Xavier Martin says farmers will do everything in their power to protect the state’s food bowl from new mines and coal seam gas (CSG) exploration.

The pledge follows comments from Woodside CEO Meg O’Neill who complained of ‘a vocal minority’ of activists with ‘deep pockets’ during her National Press Club address last week.

NSW Farmers President Xavier Martin said the big energy companies need to be reined back in with new mines and coal seam gas exploration approved for the state’s food bowls.

“The McPhillamy’s Gold Mine at Blayney will include an open-cut pit and tailings storage at the source of the Belubula River, along with a 90-kilometere pipeline to send ‘excess’ water to a coal mine near Lithgow,” Xavier said.

“Another disruptive mine that would produce silver, zinc and lead was approved for Lue, about 30 kilometres outside Mudgee, while the NSW Resources Regulator approved the reactivation of legacy coal seam gas wells near Gunnedah during the caretaker period before the state election.”

NSW Farmers President Xavier Martin and wife heather on their farm at Mullaley on the Liverpool plains

Xavier said these approvals were solid proof that a strong Independent Agriculture Commissioner was urgently needed.

“Mining companies make billions in profits each year and help release millions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, and they want free rein to do more,”

NSW Farmers President Xavier Martin

“They talk about ‘decarbonisation commitments’ and ‘keeping the lights on in Asian megacities’, but the truth is this is all about money for them, and farmers and rural communities are in the firing line.”

Xavier said farmers were deeply concerned about new mines and CSG operations that would not only disrupt food and fibre production, but also endanger town and farm water security when the next drought arrived.

“We are losing productive agricultural land to industrialisation, and this is one of the reasons we have long called for a truly independent agriculture commissioner who can make our planning laws fit for purpose,” Xavier said.

“As long as we’ve got the big end of town throwing around money and spin while manipulating the process as they try to dig up the state’s best farmland, we will continue to speak out.

“If these companies want to see activism in practice, perhaps a tractor blockade of their head office is in order!”

One of NSW Labor’s key election promises was to deliver a truly independent Agriculture Commissioner if elected, and Mr Martin said it was vital this role had the power and responsibility to call out the risk to food and fibre production from these sorts of projects.

“We’re talking about the state’s great food-producing regions here, and farmers must be able to care for the land and water free of industrial interference, not only to secure food supply, but also Australia’s economic prosperity into the future,” he said.

NSW Farmers Annual Conference backed calls from the Narrabri branch to block new coal mining that could damage the Great Artesian Basin. Read more here.

3 thoughts on “Farmers vow to block mining and CSG companies

  1. Dear Farmers, my research into sustainable agriculture and groundwater in the Upper Namoi Valley is readily available in the Public Domain on the internet.
    In my view coal seam gas mining should not go ahead in the headwaters of the Great Australian Basin. Check it out. Nothing has changed. Ken Crawford,
    Retired Hydrogeologist, Former Principal Consultant KLC Environmental.

  2. Wish we had hydrologists speaking up for us on Qld’s Darling Downs. The Condamine River is so important but is not mentioned in the RPI Act or Darling Downs Regional Plan. The alluvium underneath it is in RPI Act as a regionally significant watercourse. CSG development drills through the alluvium to reach Coal Seam Gas measures which could result in bore loss. There’s plans to drill deviated wells under the river between Dalby and Cecil Plains. The Horrane Fault runs parallel and under the river. But CSG must continue no matter what!

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