CCAG are delighted to announce that we have been awarded the NSW Tidy Towns Bush Spirit Award 2010 for category D (4,000 – 10,000 people).
We are very grateful for the recognition as we fight to save prime agricultural land and Keep Australia Beautiful at the same time! Our thanks to the people on Gunnedah Council who nominated us and NSW Tidy Towns for their support.
An independent report for Australia’s Food and Grocery Council has found that despite global challenges, agriculture and food manufacturing have increased their contribution to Australia’s GDP yet again.
The report also highlights that our food industry employs 315,000 people – nearly half of them in rural and regional Australia – feeds over 60 million people worldwide and contributed $49 billion last year to international trade.
The full report by KPMG shows how vital Australia’s agrifood business are to the health and prosperity of Australia and all Australians. If the Tasmanian government can legislate to protect agricultural land and food production from inappropriate development, surely its about time NSW woke up and did the same!
The Land & Environment Court has reserved its decision in a landmark legal case which will decide if NSW Minister for Mineral Resources Ian Macdonald breached the Mining Act when he granted BHP Billiton its $100 million exploration licence over farmland at Caroona. The case was heard before Senior Judge Justice Preston.
In a two-day hearing in Sydney on 26 & 27 October, lawyers for CCAG argued that the Minister had failed to comply with the Act in a number of ways in issuing EL6505 to BHP. CCAG are seeking to have the licence declared invalid.
In his summing up, Mr Bruce McClintock SC for CCAG told the Judge: “There seems to have been a serious degree of confusion within the Department as to what was going on. It is extremely easy to comply with the relevant sections of the Mining Act … Read More »
At the 5th Greens Bad Developer Awards 2009 on 23rd October, CCAG were joint winners with Gwandalan-Summerland Point Action Group in the Regional division in recognition of our campaign against wholly inappropriate development on the Liverpool Plains. The Gwandalan-Summerland Group received a resounding victory in the Land and Environment Court in September, fighting the Dept of Planning’s Part 3A OK of the massive Catherine Hill Bay and Gwandalan residential developments. With GSPAG’s side supported by the EDO, Justice Lloyd described the proposed land swap a “land-bribe” and threw out the development plans because there was “reasonable apprehension of bias” given that Mr Sartor had entered a memorandum of understanding and a deed with the developer.
We thank NSW Greens for their unstinting support and congratulate GSPAG on their win against this wholly unsound and fatally-flawed legislation.
The same minister who has willingly placed the Liverpool Plains under threat from coal and gas mining, is currently wringing his hands over the parlous state of the world’s food security and urging farmers to grow more!
Whilst we welcome Mr Macdonald’s acknowledgment of the looming problem, his gung-ho attitude to granting exploration licences to coal and gas mine the Liverpool Plains prime agricultural land food-bowl smacks of hypocrisy.
We ask the question – if Minister Macdonald is genuine on this issue, surely he would cease all mining-related activities until a comprehensive, independent water study is completed, and the grave risks to our food and water security posed by mining on these fertile lands are properly understood?
The biennial report from the National Water Commission shows that Australia’s water system reform continues to be plagued by “interstate bickering”, “slow intergovernmental processes” and “states [that] lack adequate policy and implementation resources”.
One of its key findings was however that “It should be assumed that groundwater and surface water are connected, unless it can be proved otherwise.” Quite so. Roll on our Independent, Catchment-wide Water Study.
And in recognition of their undeniable impact on water resources, one of NWC recommendations was that “it’s time to bring the mining industry into water planning processes”.
Since the NSW Mining Act does not even mention the word “water” once, we applaud this approach!
LPSC Mining Consultative Ctte met with PR reps from Santos this Tuesday. Given the importance of the subject to the community, Santos were closely questioned about their expected water extraction, water quality, subsidence, their understanding of the interconnectivity of the MDB and GAB systems, the Mooki fault system and their plans for the salt produced.
A definitive answer was however given to one question: there will be 3 more ‘community meetings’ but they will be ‘one-on-one’s’ only….where have we heard that before?
Woodside Petroleum’s CEO Don Voelte has raised industry and investor eyebrows alike with his critical assessment of CSG projects. He suggests, now that the “coal-seam euphoria” phase is over, that owners of CSG projects in Australia are “struggling” because the costs and technical requirements of this industry are much higher than initially estimated.
In particular, Mr Voelte candidly asked “What in the hell do you do with the water? You have to treat the water, and while some is clean, some is saline, some has magnesium and manganese and its really going to be a high-cost disposal issue”.
Of course Voelte is a gas and oil man through and through, pushing LNG instead, but given his long experience, he knows a dud when he sees one and has, consequently, spent none of Woodside’s cash on CSG.
Once again, “key stakeholders” have been sent a letter “seeking to understand [their] views about the possibility of establishing underground coal mining in the Caroona region” via face-to-face interviews, but this time with consultants brandishing a one page ‘ethics guide’. So, the same old secrecy prevails – the ever hopeful ‘divide and conquer’ routine.
As we have always said, our community welcomes communication with BHP via public meetings, where all concerns, views and perspectives can be offered in the open. We are very confident that via such real community consultation, BHP and their high-priced helpers will be certain of “what other interests and concerns exist in the community and what [our] expectations are of [them].”
Real community consultation is what “key stakeholders” want. Bring it on.
The Senate enquiry into the Impacts of Mining in the Murray Darling Basin heard from mining representatives and landholders in Gunnedah on Monday. The Mining Council reps were closely questioned about current exploratory activities and agreed our water supplies were “obviously a very critical resource”. However, they continued to labour the point for a case-by-case basis to mining assessments, precisely the sort of approach that has led to the massive environmental, water and community problems experienced in The Hunter and Southern coalfields because cumulative impacts to land and water are not taken into account.
The Senators questioned Kirrily Blomfield, Bridget Gallagher, Tim Duddy, Rosemary Nankivell and John Clements from Namoi Water about the potential for water diversion and the effects of coal and gas mining on the recharge ridges and shallow aquifers feeding agricultural water supplies. An ABC Radio interview … Read More »