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Farmers step up anti-mining pressure on NSW G -

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BRENDAN TREMBATH: A group of farmers is warning the New South Wales Government they will do
everything they can to stop mining in their region.

The Chinese company, Shenhua Energy, has approval to explore for coal near Gunnedah on the
Liverpool Plains in the north-west of the New South Wales.

Local farmers want an independent water catchment study done, as they claim mining will contaminate
water aquifers that are used for stock and domestic use.

Two weeks ago, BHP Billiton agreed not to mine in the area after a two year battle with the
farmers.

Tim Duddy's 3,000 hectare property is on the coal exploration site.

He's speaking here with Brigid Glanville

TIM DUDDY: The community is going to fight this until such time as the fully independent
catchment-wide water studies commission.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: BHP recently wanted to explore on the Liverpool Plains and they've now backed
down, and one of the recommendations that you put forward was an independent catchment study. Has
the State Government agreed to that study?

TIM DUDDY: No, they haven't, and BHP haven't backed down, BHP have just said that currently they
don't have the technology to mine under the aquifers, they don't say that they are never going to
do it, they just say currently they don't have the technology.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: Why won't the State Government pursue an independent catchment study?

TIM DUDDY: Because I believe the State Government are concerned about the fact that it would
seriously curtail mining on the Liverpool Plains if they look at the catchment-wide water study.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: So where to from here? This company has paid the money for exploration, are they
allowed to go in now and explore and walk into people's properties?

TIM DUDDY: Well they are going to try, but the district is not going to consent into allowing any
access until such time as this water study has been commissioned.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: But how can you stop them?

TIM DUDDY: The district will blockade every property in the entire district, if that's what it
comes to. Until someone is prepared to listen to what we need to do, that is what we are going to
have to do.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: And how many properties will be affected by this exploration license?

TIM DUDDY: Probably about another 30 or 40.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: And what sort of farming properties are they? Can you just paint a picture of
that area?

TIM DUDDY: It's a mixed enterprise there, there's a lot of cattle grown on the ridges, and they
grow crops, there's wheat, sorghum, sunflower, barley, lucerne and oats grown in the area, and
underground, on all that country is the most extraordinarily huge water resource.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: What's the risk to that water resource, if these companies come in and explore
and then mine?

TIM DUDDY: Well there are two risks. One is cross contamination from one aquifer to another, and
the second is that with subsidence after mining, that the aquifers will completely disappear down
into the hole where the coal came from.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: What reaction have you had from Federal Government, or is there a roll for
Federal Government here?

TIM DUDDY: Well the Federal Government could certainly intervene, and offer to pay for some of the
water study. I think it's something that should be jointly funded by the State and Federal
Government, I think it is outrageous to think that with the attention on the Murray-Darling system,
as it is, that right at the head of the Murray-Darling system they are contemplating putting such a
huge mine.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: How big would this particular mine be that Shenhua wants to explore?

TIM DUDDY: Certainly, the PHP mine, they are talking about 550 million tonnes, and considering
Shenhua coal are paying six times what BHP are going to pay, I don't think the mine will be any
smaller than that.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: Have you been speaking to the State Government? What's the next process? It
sounds like it hasn't moved on at all, since farmers fighting BHP, now you're just going to be
fighting a Chinese company?

TIM DUDDY: Absolutely, and I mean, when you consider that Minister Macdonald has been fully aware
of what's been going on in the Liverpool Plains, and they had still refused to commission that
water study, it is totally irresponsible.

I asked Mr Macdonald in front of the New South Wales farmers why they would refuse to commission
that study, and he said that the New South Wales state planning process was sufficient to protect
the environment.

You don't have to go very far to see what the New South Wales planning process does the to the
environment, take a look at the Hunter Valley.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Tim Duddy, a farmer from near Gunnedah in New South Wales, speaking with Brigid
Glanville. And the State Minister responsible, Ian Macdonald, was unavailable to comment.