Time to draw a line in the soil
Wednesday’s ABC 7.30 Report on BHP’s intention to mine some of Australia’s prime land clearly outlined the fallacy of mining on the Liverpool Plains, a food bowl which produces even in times of drought.
Prised from behind his Melbourne desk, Phil Clark’s ‘excitement’, for the sunset industry project, looked rather unconvincing as he stated that BHP had “another 3 years before they put forward any application” and that of course they had to stay away from where the water is. BUT, how would they know where the water is? They’re not monitoring quality, quantity, flow. They’re not calling for an independent, catchment–wide water study. The truth is somewhat simpler as other mining communities know – mining companies don’t know, and mining companies don’t care.
A rather shadowy-looking Mitch Hooke, a spinner for the Minerals Council, feebly attempted to greenwash mining’s past devastation when he said “they [the mining companies] know they can’t be here today, gone tomorrow and leave a mess.” Tell that to the Hunter Valley, to the community at Werris Creek, to the State Government which lists 570 mines sites “unlikely to ever be remediated”. Tell that to a warming planet; to the kids with coal-dust induced asthma and lead in their school water tanks, all since the mines arrived. Mining companies have been asked to clear up their mess time and time again, but government regulators are toothless in the face of private greed, people get sicker, the environment gets poisoned and communities still wait for action.
John Williams of the National Resources Commission hits the nail on the head when he says “we need regional water and planning studies, presently we don’t have sufficient [information].” At Caroona, a prime agricultural asset for Australia we’re drawing a line in the soil. No independent, catchment-wide water study. No coal.
CCAG 7.30 Report Press Release