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Live Welcome to 7.30 (NSW), I'm Quentin Dempster. Tonight -

who is really buying the farm?

In the last couple of days the Koreans and Hume Coal Koreans and Hume Coal admitted

The concern when people go to they were behind that company

these length what is are they hiding. The ladies tea house loses

loses in Randwick. The opposition to the demolition of

the tea house has started too

late. Rural landowners across

State who locked their gates to

mining are now being undermined

by a new strategy by the companies. The purchase Prime Minister agricultural companies. The purchase of

Prime Minister agricultural

land by the coal and coal seam gas industry allows miners

access to key parcels of land

without the trouble of

resistant landowners. In the Southern Highlands the Southern Highlands the recent

purchase of a large property by

Hume Coal slipped through unnoticed by the community

because the company used a

third party to make the

purchase. It is a practice

that has angered the locals and

ever made them more determined than

ever to stop mining on agricultural land. Sharon

O'Neill reports. About an hour and a half's drive south of

Sydney lies the rural hamlet of

Sutton Forest. This is Sutton Forest. This is rich

agricultural land, home to both

commercial and hobby farms. But it is also the location of

a coal exploration lease a coal exploration lease held

by the majority Korean owned

company Hume Coal. Hume Coal

essentially are saying they

want to develop an underground

coal mine and phase one is the coal mine and phase one is

exploratory phase and they're talking about putting down 130

exploration wells. We're

going to need 100 of these

signs I think. Peter and Kim

Martin are at the forefront of the Southern the Southern Highlands Coal

months, they've Action Group. For the past 12

months, they've been working

with their Neighbours to stop

Hume Coal getting access to

their properties . We've been a

very strong group and we've very strong group and

spent a lot of time rallying

all the Neighbours and making

some support, they've them feel as though they've got

some support, they've got

somewhere to go to. They've

come out with a map that shows

where the wells are and they're

spread right across the lease. This point they're having great

difficulty getting on to This point they're having great

landholders's properties. By

and large, the whole community shut them out. Neighbour

Michael Ball has locked the

gate at his property to gate at his property to the

miners. This is an area of

great beauty. It is an area that is important as a that is important as a farming

area for many small farmers and area for many small farmers and

most importantly, because of

the water that is underneath

this, the whole of the Southern

Highlands and that water, first

old of all, is thousands of years

old and irreplaceable, it won't

be replaced by a few monsoons, and it is very important to Sydney's potential growth. It

seems to me to be as sign that we should be risking that resource for a one off payment we should be risking that water

from Korea at the risk of not

only our water, but also of

ruining land for future generations. Michael Ball now

faces the possibility that the adjoining property he part

owned until last month will be a significant part of any

future coal mining activity in

the area. This is handled

through a local real estate through a local real estate

agent and by the time it was

sold, exchanged, then we sold, exchanged, then we became

aware that it could be a

property associated with the

coal mining interesting. While

Michael Ball was away overseas,

his business partner sold his business partner sold the property to a company named

rural. Rural was set up only

in September, so it is a brand

new company. It was set up by a Sydney law a Sydney law firm Blake Dawes

son Waldron, three partners were

were directors of this company,

and it is recently purchased a

property here in Sutton Forest.

Now, it has taken some time for

us to discover who is behind

this company and just in the

last couple of days the Koreans

and Hume Coal have admitted and Hume Coal have admitted they were behind that company. The company paid $8

million for the property and the adjoining property Carlyle downs. At just over 1000

acres, it covers 7% of the Hume

Coal lease. What was your reaction when you found reaction when you found out that the company was connected

with Hume Coal? We horrified of course. Having with Hume Coal? We were

been and remaining been and remaining very been and remaining very active

opponents of coal mining in

arable land. If Hume Coal arable land. If Hume Coal had

been the purchaser of this property under the name of Hume

Coal, would have you sold it I certainly would not have done.

My partner is a businessman and

I can't speak for him and I

wouldn't want to try. Presumably, though, if

they put their name upfront he they put their name upfront

would have raised who it would have raised who it was?

He would certainly have waited

until he talked to me or

whatever, yes. We never got

the chance to even discuss that subject. No-one from Hume Coal was available to be

interviewed. But in a statement chief statement chief operating

officer Peter Doyle

It was gut wrenching,

absolutely, yes. I don't know

what else to say. what else to say. We're

trained to do what we can to prevent mining occurring. The

mining industry is known for

using community divide and conquer tactics, buying properties, if you like, in the

dead of night, trying to

obscure their activities, not

being transparent with the

community. It's mining 101.

That's how miners have behaved

Particularly now for years and years.

Particularly now when

essentially the law is on their side. Not far away is the

property pleasant view. It is

125 acres and it's been on market

market since the start of the

year. It is really beautiful.

It has been in my family for a really long period of time. We

love it. Last month, property owner Debra Van Breda was

approached with an offer. I was

approached by an agent and said they they had an interested buyer

for the property. That for the property. That was

getting up to the price that we

were kind of interested in and

we had on the market for. we had on the market for. I

asked who the buyer was going

to be? Could you me a bit more

about them? And so he

did. What did he say? He said

it was a family in Sydney

interested in looking at

purchasing the property. That's what he would start to

say, to tell me to start off

with, and I said you can tell me a little bit more about the

family? Why do they want this

particular property? He said

they wanted access to they wanted access to the highway, to the Hume

Highway. Despite her desire to sell, Debra Van Breda was

suspicious. The agent was

pushing for a quick sale, but

she wanted to know more about

the buyer. Did he tell you

name of the company? Aurelius Aurelius was the family company from Sydney. Yes. That's what he

said to you you recollect him

saying. Yes. Aurelius was not a

family in Sydney. After

checking with Peter and Kim

Martin who expressed their

concerns about the company,

Debra Van Breda confronted the

agent. I said I think it is

connected with a mining

company. You can it help company. You can it help me with that because I will not sell it to the mining sell it to the mining company. He said yes, I think it is. A

smokes man for Hume

smokes man for Hume Coal denied that a representative from

Aurelius rural or Hume Coal had

made an offer or entered into

negotiations on pleasant view.

7.30 contacted the agent

involved who confirmed he had approached Debra Van Breda with

an offer from a company named Aurelius Pty Limited. Hume Coal denies that this company is in any way connected to Aurelius Aurelius rural. I actually don't believe these companies show any sense of show any sense of corporate morality whatsoever. It is a criticism of the whole system.

They believe they operate in the best interests of their shareholders. But shareholders. But companies

should be held to account for

the morality of their

actions. Tea, coffee, anyone. Hume Coal's anyone. Hume Coal's successful

purchase of this property has purchase of this property has

raised the level of concern across the Southern Highlands. It is just soul

destroying to see this

beautiful land and it truly beautiful land and it truly is beautiful land, that can go

under with coal mining.

Short-term gain, monetary gain

for government, huge monetary

gain for Korea, in our case, this

this is Korean miners, and it

will be a huge monetary gain

for them, but not much comes

back to Australia from that.

Not much at all. At the end

of the day, from where I sit,

I'm seeing more and more people

becoming very concerned about

this sort of activity in the

shire. We're having rallies

and our council have moved a

number of motions saying that we're... Until there's conclusive evidence it is conclusive evidence it is not

going to impact on our

agricultural land or groundwater, we don't groundwater, we don't support

it at all. We're asking that

they go away. It would be prohibited. The community is

now hoping that the State

Government will live up to its

promises made in opposition to protect prime agricultural land

and water sources from any future mining. There's communities being absolutely hammered by mining companies

not only here but in the

Liverpool Plains and in broke

and Bylong valley and down in

the Illawarra and way up north, because the Government's

sitting back saying we're working through this problem,

but we don't have any solutions

and we won't put a moratorium on this activity until we get

all this sorted out. Well,

they have there's got to come a

time when the bell has to ring

and they have to say enough is enough. Sharrow enough. Sharrow O'Neill reporting the tactics reporting the tactics of mining

companies in pursuit of coal

and coal seam gas extraction under private openly policy is

a policy headache for the O'Farrell Government. Shortly

I'll be putting questions to the Premier Barry O'Farrell who dropped in for a chat this

morning. Also on the agenda

this week reports into the Keneally's Government's Keneally's Government's partial privatisation of electricity

assets late last year and the future of the industry. First, let's tackle the issue let's tackle the issue of

deceptive tactics by mining companies. Mr Premier, welcome

back. Do you think mining

companies should declare their interests upfront when interests upfront when seeking

to acquire rural properties? I

certainly think it is

concerning that those seeking to buy properties, whether they're mining companies or

someone else, aren't prepared

to be upfront about it. What

you can do about it? It is not

illegal, but it is certainly seems to be deceptive? seems to be deceptive? It is not illegal. We have in a

variety of areas people who use

third parties in order to

purchase goods and purchase goods and properties, but I am happy to raise but I am happy to raise with

both the Minister for mining as

well as the Minister for fair

trading whether given the

concerns around the discord

between agriculture and mining whether anything is able to be

done. It is a tactic that could be deployed to get around lock be deployed to get around lock the gate. You don't have to

worry about lock the gate if

you're a mining company you're a mining company because

you can buy the property. A

concern when people go to these

length what is are they hiding?

I'm not sure the mining sector

wants to be seen to be wants to be seen to be hiding anything. And therefore, anything. And therefore, they

should be operating openly in full view of the public so

everyone understands what's

happening. The NSW farmers, Mr

Premier, are threatening Premier, are threatening to

withdraw from your stakeholder references group looking at

this vexed issue of land use,

agriculture and aquifer

protection. Don't they have

just cause in getting out

because nothing has happened from your government from your government to give certainty to rural certainty to rural communities about aquifer and food bowl

protection? Firstly, we don't

want NSW farmer to walkway want NSW farmer to walkway from the table. the table. They haven't done

it yet. As I understand t the president of the NSW president of the NSW farmers

and the Planning Minister, who

is overseeing this process, are talking regularly. But it is

true, it is vexed, it true, it is vexed, it is

difficult. It is one of the

many problems left to the new

government by the outgoing

government and whilst they

didn't care about these issues,

we do, so there's two things

we're putting together.

Firstly, an aquifer policy to

ensure whether mining, whether coal mining coal mining more whether some

other use, we have proper

rules, proper processes that

seek to protect aquifers and groundwater and groundwater and secondly, through the stratdepik land use

policy, which we are keen to have the ongoing input of NSW

farmers into, we want to put in

place for the first time in place for the first time in NSW

a policy that allows the competing interests in a competing interests in a peace

of land to be properly weighed, environmental scientific, community, so that community, so that transparent

decisions can be made decisions can be made about particular areas. What's the

timeline? When? The distress

is palpable now and people is palpable now and people want

certainty now. They want

prohibition now. prohibition now. Quarantining

of lands to protect the ago per

in particular. No-one want it

to happen more than me. No-one

goes around and talks to people

more than me. I've been to the

north coast and north-west where the issues have been where the issues have been

raised with me. They're raise wz

wz me almost every other day

Sydney. No-one is keener than me. What me. What we're determined to

do, though, is make sure we

operate be not basis of

facts. You've got a moratorium

on new coal seam gas licences

but that doesn't stop but that doesn't stop existing

licences. Why not a moratorium

on any further coal seam gas

and coal mining while we sort

out aquifer and food bowl protection? protection? One of the

problems we have, not just in

this area but in other areas, is

is that under the former government under the former rules, a variety of commitments

were entered into. We need to

ensure that we don't in any way

open up taxpayers to claims of compensation by actions that compensation by actions that we

take. That's what makes this difficult. What we are gaiting

from these communities is not

only distress, but real concern

that while there may have been

a change of government, they're still dealing with the same

bureaucrats and there's been no

attitudinal change. The motivation of government seems to be let's get these coal projectings up because of the

macro-economic benefits to NSW,

forget about the locals. I

think that's false. I if you talk to the Planning Minister

who is oversighting the pro

spes, he has been very keen to

do is ensure both the science

and community get heard for the

first time in this process. What we've seen an end to What we've seen an end to is

what happened under the former

government where exploration licences, leases, were sold licences, leases, were sold for huge amounts of money

regardless of the impact regardless of the impact on

local areas. I'm one of those

that is very concerned about

the alientation of

the alientation of prime agricultural land for mining

and other purposes without

proper regard to the long-term future interests of this State. Now the big questions

about the future of the

electricity industry. After a

7-month inquiry behind closed

doors, Brian Tamberlin, QC, has found there was no impropriety

By the former Labor Government.

Total proceeds of $5.3 billion

were said to have exceeded the

combined retention value of the

assets, but Mr Tamberlin declined to reveal how this was

calculated. It's commercial calculated. It's commercial in confidence. confidence. So after years confidence. So after years of

bitter debate, we still don't

know the assumptions behind the

retention value calculation. Mr

Mr Tamberlin asserts, however,

that the state did receive

value for money. He recommends all remaining electricity

assets be leased or sold, the

Government should also consider

selling the poles and wires, the distribution networks. This

is the retention value is the retention value calculation all blanked out. How contemptuous is that?

You said in your election document you were going to be

honest with the people of NSW.

Again, a very difficult issue for government about for government about the privatisation of the electricity assets. Will you fill in these blanks? That decision was made, of course, arms length from government by

justice Tamberlin who undertook justice Tamberlin who

the inquiry for us. That's Mr to the electricity Challen's consultant's report

to the electricity inquiry. I

assume at that the decision has

been made by Mr Tamberlin for

happy good reason, I'm certainly

happy to check it. Because, the

bidders, potential bidders, potential bidders, in

to sell the remaining assets, the event cabinet does decide

the potential bidders already

know the values of the generation output and they

certainly know the price they

paid for the retailers. The filling in these blanks would

help you and

help you and the public

understand what would be

involved, the benefits and downsides of further

privatisation, would they not? Certainly when I saw the

report on Monday I was probably

equally surprised as you by the

blank bits in the report. I

haven't had the opportunity to

have that checked at this

stage. I assume that as part

cabinet in confidence of the cabinet discussions the

discussions, those figures will

not be blanked out so that the

decision Government makes by decision Government makes by

best possible statistics. How Christmas will be based on the

is it that Brian Tamberlin

declares the State has received

value for money, yet, in his audit of the sale, the

Auditor-General, declares a

loss of $1.8 million 5 billion

for the sale of Delta West and

Eraring generation and the Auditor-General notes the proceeds from selling the

generation output represented

government less than half of the value of

government power station assets

at the time of the sale. That's

one of the issues that cabinet

will have to grapple with over

the next couple of months.

Clearly, have you two competing

interests, two competing claims

now, one by the inquiry, one by the now, one by the Tamberlin

Auditor-General. They both

can't be right. What cabinet

will as part of its decision

judgment which making process do is make a

judgment which one is correct.

The coalition's 2011 The coalition's 2011 election manifesto said at item 9 manifesto said at item 9 that

if elected it you would retain

the ownership of the poles and

wires in public hands. Will

you honour that commitment? you honour that

What it said at item two or

three we would have an inquiry

into the electricity sector in

NSW to set the course forward,

importantly, in the terms of reference... Re table the

ownership of the poles and

wires in public hands will you

honour that commitment. We set

up a inquiry the terms of reference were reference were released You've given yourself wriggle room. We couldn't have been clearer

about this. Item 2 and 3

committed to the inquiry we put

Draught terms of reference out

on the 20 February. Those

terms of reference didn't put any limits on what an independent inquiry would do. Why? Unlike the former

government, we want to take the

politics out of this and get

the best outcome for the people

of this State in terms of of this State in terms of lower prices for families and lower

prices for small businesses.

That's what we will be guided

by as cabinet seeks to discussions discussion these issues. The inquiry Gaz jumps

item the retaining the poles item the retaining the

The inquiry was announced and wires in public hands.

before item 9. The terms of

reference put in that document

clearly said that the whole of the sector would be examined. No decisions have been made.

Don't get carried way before

decisions are made. By Christmas you'll have your answer. You can come back from

day holidays and interview me the

day after if you want to

because we'll be make a decision in the best interests

of the state. You have no

mandate from the people of NSW

in the election in 2011 to

privatise these assets. We had

an mandate from the public to

put in place an inquiry. The

easiest decision for us to have

taken before the election was

to rule out any to rule out any further

electricity assets. We privatisations of the state's

department do that. We did what we thought was right which

was put in place an expert

inquiry to guide future decisions based on what will

keep prices low with west for people across this state. Mr people

Premier, thank you very much. Thank you. Tomorrow, Randwick Racecourse will throw

opiates gate for another day racing but it opiates gate for another day of

racing but it is no ordinary

race day. Instead, it is a farewell to Royal Randwick as

we know it. Over the next 18

months, it will undergo months, it will undergo its

boldest transformation yet, a

$150 million redevelopment.

The plans were approved by

Randwick Council months ago,

but not everyone is happy. Now

in the dying hours before the wrecking balls move in, there's

one of the one last ditch attempt to save

one of the Randwick's much-loved much-loved architectural

treasures from demolition.

Caro Meldrum-Hanna reports. It

is midday at Royal Randwick racecourse.

racecourse. And there's a nervous excitement in the air.

But there's no racing today.

Instead, the grandstands and betting pavilions have been transformed into university transformed

examination halls. It is a far cry from the Troy Corser's beginnings. Randwick

Racecourse has seen the great,

the greedy and the criminal. They've all been here at the

same time. Sometimes perhaps sitting side by side. The

racetrack began here around 18

59, 18 60 and that's a good

year before the Melbourne Cup was created. It is an extraordinarily long time scale

for Australia. Our nation has

a very, very short history. a very, very short history. To

be able to say we've got this

course that's been here since

19 59, 18 60, it is

incredible. Quickly after its inception, racing at Royal

Randwick took off. With the

national sport in Sydney and we

had the first five pages of newspapers were often dedicated had the first five pages of the

to the

to the great races or the

carnivals that were coming up.

It was an amazing time. Do

you remember the days of

Randwick when he cantered down

the course. By the the course. By the 1930s Royal Randwick had become much Randwick had become much more than a just a racetrack. That's

right. During The Depression,

it was the statistic that we had that the had that the revenues generated

from the tax from gambling on

the racetrack actually pulled the New South Wales the New South Wales Government

through. It was also a time

when segregation ruled. Women

weren't allowed to venture

beyond a painted yellow line.

They weren't allowed track side

and they weren't allowed to

bet. Instead, their sanctuary

was the tea house. Built in

1914, designed by renowned

architectural firm Robertson

and marks, the same firm that

built much of the SC G. So built much of the SC G. So many

beautiful events went on in

that Syd building. It was

where ladies used to retire to

have their tea during race days. Just look at it. It days. Just look at it. It is beautiful. It is just

beautiful. Peter Harris is a

lifelong racing enthusiast and

employee of the Australian Turf

Club's heritage society which

is made up of unpaid volunteers. It is such a rare

and wonderful building in itself. It is one of the

rarest few examples we have of

Indian colonial architecture.

It is also been here for 93

years and it is a very rich

part of the history of Randwick racecourse. His boss doesn't agree. I don't think the tea

house represents the history of the

the ATC as such. Current generations and future generations do you see generations do you see them retiring to a tea house for

tea. No. As we were talking

about before. They would

prefer to retire to the

champagne bar. It is no secret

that Royal Randwick has been in somewhat of a financial

downside for several years. Evidence of a protracted lack

of funding is everywhere. A

walk around the walk around the public

grandstands reveals run down

gaming rooms, shabby interiors,

and seriously outdated

amenities. It is a tough economy to

economy to compete in. Racing, like I mentioned before, is

competing with rugby competing with rugby league,

and all these other major

sports in Australia. It has low attendance. It is

difficult to make a dollar in

the racing industry. You just

ask trainers or, you know,

owners. The outputs are owners. The outputs are very,

very high. They will do what they can to survive. The

survival of Randwick as a premiere racecourse now hinges on the ability of the Australian Turf Club to

rejuvenate the course. For the

past six years, the ATC has

been busy drawing up its been busy drawing up its grand

plan to breathe new life plan to breathe new life into

Randwick and this is what

they've come up with. The they've come up with. The two

existing public stands, the

paddock stand and the QE2 stand, will receive a stand, will receive a much needed overhaul. The biggest

change - a large modern parade

ring known as the theatre of

the horse. Darren Pearce is

the CEO of the ATC. The

mastermind behind this bold new

vision. As a Thursday we're

proud of the horse people we

have in Sydney, the likes of

Bart Cummings, Gai Waterhouse,

et cetera, and we wanted to

showcase them in a world-class

way. That's what the theatre

of the horse does. This

theatrical edition brings what many believe is grained loss. The demolition of the historic

and much-loved tea house. We

actually looked to be honest at

a raping of designs to a raping of designs to maintain

it. We looked at going between

the tea house and the stand.

We looked at going around the

tea house. We looked, as crazy as it seems going through the

tea house with the horses.

None of those things allowed us

to optimise the outcome for to optimise the outcome for the

long-term. The renovations

they're going to do are going

to be incredible and fling Rand

back back into the forefront back back into the forefront of

racing in Australia but what

cost to history. It was a

wonder why the tea house was never formally heritage listed.

Especially documents like this

obtained by 7.30. It is a 2006 heritage assessment report

carried out by heritage consultants Logan. It found:

The assessment concluded that

the tea house was a landmark

building with a high

significance grading. This was

a well-known group a well-known group of conservation management

analysts who made analysts who made that

recommendation, but the ATC chose to ignore it. Was there

ever an opportunity to actually

heritage list formally the tea

house? Not that I'm

house? Not that I'm aware of. But based on information in

this email, written by the

National Trust this week,

obtained by 7.30, there may be

more to it. We understand that

the AJC itself had dominated

the tea house for listing on

the state heritage register but

had not subsequently forwarded the necessary documentation for

the listing to be completed.

This building is of high heritage significance. heritage significance. If

nominated by the AJC for state

heritage listing approval for

its demolition by Randwick city

council should not have been

Part from seeing the

CEO of the Australian Turf CEO of the Australian Turf Club

and making a last ditch appeal

to him, I don't think there's

much more we can do, because, much more we can do, because, really, the opposition to the

demolition of the tea house has

started too late. And with the wrecking ball due to wrecking ball due to swing

through Randwick in less than

48 hours, the odds of a

last-minute reprieve for the

tea house are longer than

ever. goodbye the tea house.

That's the show for this week. Bye bye. Closed Captions by CSI

now Live. Returning home - bodies Live. Returning home - the

bodies of three soldiers killed in Afghanistan about Pressure to step down - in Prime Minister George

Papandreou faces calls from the

opposition for a natural

election. Buying trust - election. Buying trust - Qantas apologises for disruptions apologises for disruptions with

$20 million in free flights for passengers. Australia through

to the final of rugby election. to the final of rugby league's Four Nations after an

impressive win against England.

This is ABC News 24. Hello, I'm Simon Palan. Checking

tomorrow's weather first: The bodies of three

Australian soldiers killed Australian soldiers killed in

Afghanistan will soon touch

down at the RAAF base in Amberley south-west

Amberley south-west of Brisbane.

Brisbane. The trio were

farewelled with a ramp ceremony

at the Al Minhad air base in the United Arab Emirates. Captain Bryce Brisbane. Ashley Birt and Lance Corporal

Luke Gavin was shot dead by a rogue member of rogue member

National Army during a routine

parade more than a week ago. The

The men were part of The Afghan soldiers. Speaking at the ramment ceremony, their Colonel Chris Smith said they commanding officer, Lieutenant

died doing what died doing what they believed in. They died in the service of their country stepping where others feared to tread and doing what others feared to do.

We all owe them a debt of

gratitude, a debt that we can their extraordinary work, by only

putting Prime Minister, George Papandreou, says talks with opposition parties on forming a