While the Labor Party was in power in New South Wales for 16 long years from 1995 to 2011, it approved mining leases under good farm land all around our State to its dodgy donor mates.
In 2006, NSW Labor’s then Minister for Mineral Resources, Eddie Moses Obeid, granted a mining lease near Mudgee separately to the Wilpinjong and Moolarben coal mine projects, as well another near Lithgow (Pine Dale) and extensions to Lamberts Gully and Clarence coal mine, just west of the Blue Mountains.
NSW Labor’s then Minister for Mineral Resources Ian Macdonald approved a massive coal minesouth of Narrabri in 2008 to Whitehaven Coal Mining. It was just one of twelve mines approved by Labor that year. In early 2009, the Oaklands Coal project run by Coalworks Ltd was approved west of Wagga Wagga in the Riverina’s agricultural region.
In the prime agricultural land of the Hunter Valley, NSW, north of Sydney, Labor has granted major extensions to the Hunter Valley Operations at Muswellbrook, Mt Owen and Wambo coal mines. The rich pasture of the Hunter Valley underpinning dairy, the internationally renowned grape growing and the billion dollar thoroughbred breeding industries are under threat. Increasing levels of mining exploration and activity are threatening the future viability of this highly valuable arable land as well as the health and future of employees, livestock, communities and the environment.
Coal mining has already devastated much of the Upper Hunter since its false assurances of “co-existence” with agriculture.
Bruce Tyrrell of Tyrrell’s Wines says in the report that previous promises about co-existence from mining groups have led to disastrous outcomes for the wine and tourism industries.
“We’ve been here before,” he says. “During the 1980s the mining industry sweet-talked the government and wine industry into opening up the Upper Hunter region using the promise of `co-existence.’”
“Look what happened. The Upper Hunter has been lost (from) wine and tourism completely”.
According to the Hunter Valley Protection Alliance, further Coal Seal Gas mining activity will damage the wine-growing region by:
- Releasing fugitive methane emissions, which have many times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide and deteriorate ground and surface water quality and quantity,
- Contaminating or diminishing upper fresh water aquifers,
- Producing saline waste without any land storage of disposal policy in place to deal with the additional waste,
- Impacting the wine and tourism industries by damaging perceptions about the area.
Now foreign multinationals have been given leases for Coal Seam Gas under much of the Hunter Valley – again by NSW Labor when it was in office. Gloucester Resources Limited (GRL), holds mining exploration licences that line the eastern side of the Hunter Valley town of Gloucester, running the length of the population centre. It wants to open cut within a kilometre of residents at its Rocky Hill open cut coal mine.
Australia’s prime agricultural land at risk from mining
Gloucester has been bought out by Chinese State-owed YanCoal (part of the multinational Yanzhou Coal Mining Company). Steadily the Coal seam Gas Bullies have acquired vast areas of prime agricultural land around the town of Gloucester, forcing property values to plummet. Some locals have been pressured to sell their land to the miner. Many nearby locals now can’t sell their land because no-one wants to live near an open cut coal mine.
And Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board allowed this land to be sold to the Chinese Government.
What was the point of Australians fighting to keep Australia’s way of life? What was the point of Australian’s fighting the communist in the Korean War and again in the Vietnam War? We were told it was to stop the Domino Effect of Chinese Communism pushing its way down to democratic and free Australia. We were told it was to stop this ‘Yellow Peril’.
Now our own governments are selling out our prime agricultural land to the Yellow Peril anyway!