Water Study Welcomed As Farmers Rally Outside NSW Parliament To Protect Prime Farmland
After a three year battle, the Caroona community has welcomed the NSW Government’s announcement of an independent water study of the Namoi catchment to ensure the risks to the Liverpool Plains aquifer systems are fully understood prior to any mining operations being approved.
The decision came as more than 200 farmers rallied outside the NSW Parliament in support of a Greens amendment to the Mining Act 1992 to prevent any mining or exploration anywhere in areas designated as prime agricultural lands. Despite Labor’s pathetic attempts to delay debate on the Bill, debate ensued in the afternoon session with packed public galleries of farmers in the Upper House.
After fiery debate, with the Coalition and several independents eloquently supporting the Greens quoting from farmers’ emails, compared to improbable statements and politicking by a clearly rattled Minister Macdonald, this amendment to the Mining Act was defeated 20-19. The farmers were let down by the Shooters Party and Fred Nile, an unholy combination with thirty farmers leaving the gallery in disgust during Rev. Nile’s speech.
It is obvious now that the Labor government no longer has a clear mandate for its mining policies on prime agricultural lands. We will keep fighting until such an amendment is passed ensuring this country’s clean food and water supplies are protected from any inappropriate or contaminating development.