Tick the box
Four years on and today the CCAG community met BHPB and its associates where it all began, at Caroona Hall. Summonsed to hear progress reports on our concerns, we left with unanswered questions – no progress – and no road forward. We reworked the same ground. Four years on and we are still work-shopping the same issues. The promise : another four years and then a mine development application.
The process has become mine planning, not exploration. From oversimplified maps masking ground water, to inappropriately placed dust monitors, to ‘minimize’ agricultural water impacts in lieu of ‘no impacts’, to the promise of 3 mines entrances in Doona forest, but with no underground linkages, and 80 access agreements across 65 farms in the EL… what!!? – the bureaucratic process spins round and round. And you want a social license to mine? … Read More »
Blockade Deja vu
On a clear winter day, Caroona Hall resonated to enthusiastic conversation as CCAG supporters again answered the call on the second anniversary of the Blockade formation. United, the gathering showed the fight and spirit behind the blockade is still present in the community.
CCAG president Sandy Blomfield spoke to the large gathering of blockade participants and supporters, reviewing our achievements and successes, in the ongoing struggle to fairly preserve our land and water.
Mining Minister tests the water
CCAG today welcomed the first NSW Mining Minister to visit, tour the Liverpool Plains and engage directly with the community.
At Caroona Hall, Paul McLeay heard first hand community concerns on aquifer loss and contamination through gas and coal extraction, uncertainty for agricultural businesses, and health concerns linked with coal mining and transporting. Whilst the Minister was unable to satisfy our concerns, he pointed to new technology solutions, admitted ‘challenging’ issues, and took some issues on notice to report back to the community. He also noted that ‘development is good’. The Minister also agreed chequebook co-existence was not feasible ultimately, as the Mining Companies continue to use land purchasing as their preferred solution.
CCAG again called for No Mining or development until the Water Study is completed, a full public release of the Water Study upon completion, statuary exclusion of the flood … Read More »
Minister Says No Exploration without Water Study
Federal Minister for Resources & Energy Martin Ferguson, who visited the Liverpool Plains today, agreed with the CCAG and distanced himself from the NSW State Labor government when he confirmed that a water study should have been carried out before any exploration licenses were granted in the area.
During the visit he guaranteed $1.5 million in Federal funding for the 18 month long water study, tenders for which are currently undergoing assessment. Hosted on the visit by Tony Windsor MP, the Minister made good on a pledge to see for himself the value of the area in agricultural terms.
We appreciate his visit and look forward to further discussions on how we can save this most productive land and its Murray Darling Basin water supplies from inappropriate mining development.
This (mining) life
As highlighted again by NSW Farmers Association last week, the evolution of the farcical NSW Mining Act continues well away from public gaze. Whilst the mining industry through the Minerals Council was freely consulted under former Minister Macdonald, the other major stakeholders, the farmers and landholders, enjoyed no such input. The operational ‘codes’ released by the Department in December 2009 seek to further dumb down mining operational procedures, even to removing EIS obligations . Furthermore, changes to Regulations in Section 62 further simplify mining processes by removing inconvenient impediments, for example dispensing with proximity limits to orchards and crops.
The replacement Minister Macleay has yet to visibly engage, but we trust he will give fair consideration, and full consultation, to ALL stakeholders.
Quirindi Office Opens
SOS Liverpool Plains have opened an office in Quirindi opposite the Post Office.
There is now a place in town where the community can meet and catch up on what’s happening with SOS Liverpool Plains.
Just like the blockade, the office is manned by a roster of volunteers who are passionate about protecting our most valuable agricultural assets, soil and water, from contamination and destruction by coal and gas mining.
Drop in, have a chat and sign the petition .
Sir Lunchalot Falls on Sword
Did he jump or was he pushed? Yes, the Minister for Mines is getting reincarnated again after Sir Lunchalot resigns over his dodgy Dubai expenses.
We look forward, again, to a minister with whom we can have constructive discussions and one who is actually prepared to visit the area!
Significant loss of landholders rights
The Mining Amendment Act passed through NSW Parliament yesterday, with assistance from the Nationals and Shooters Party.
The legislation was the subject of many late changes during the debate, the full legal consequences of which are still unclear. CCAG is reviewing the legislation and will then comment further.
Bickham Bites the Dust – Pages River Saved
In a courageous move, Premier Keneally has ruled out coal mining at the controversial Bickham mine in the Upper Hunter, confirming the independent Planning Assessment Commission’s recommendation. Citing concerns from the thoroughbred industry and risks to water supplies, the Premier said that “[her government] will not jeopardise the growth of this important Australian export industry”.Clearly the same statements apply to the Liverpool Plains and its prime food producing land! CCAG President Sandy Blomfield commented today “Certainly, in this case, commonsense has prevailed and … [I] look forward to the water issues being addressed in all future mining proposals.”
Congratulations to everyone who campaigned for so many years to stop this environmental disaster.
A Chinese Watermark
In media reports this week, the largest coal producer in the world, Shenhua Energy, is so concerned about infrastructure in NSW that it is considering building coal-fired power stations near its planned mining operation in the Gunnedah basin and burning the coal on site.
Also, the senior vice-president of Shenhua Energy, the parent company of Shenhua Watermark, says there will be mining “under the river” on the Liverpool Plains.
So just how will these dovetail into Penny Wongs ‘Water for the Future’ MDB plan for a ‘strong and vibrant future for agriculture’, or Minister Macdonalds ‘no mining under the floodplain’ guarantee?
Update: Shenhua regrets a translation error with respect to mining under rivers.