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Gillard Govt should heed NSW Farmers' coal mining moratorium call

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Christine Milne

Australian Senate Australian Greens Deputy Leader

Contact: Tim Hollo on 0437 587 562

media release

Wednesday 27 October 2010

Gillard Govt should heed NSW Farmers' coal mining moratorium call

The Gillard government should heed the call by the NSW Farmers Association today for a moratorium on all new coal, mineral and gas projects until a strategic plan has been developed to protect food security and agricultural land, the Australian Greens said.

The Greens have long called for a moratorium on coal seam gas projects such as those approved by Environment Minister Burke on Friday because of the risks to the water table and agricultural land. The Greens have also campaigned with farmers to protect farming land from encroachment by coal mining.

“As the farmers say, you can't eat coal for breakfast,” Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.

“The Gillard government promised a food security plan during the election campaign and they must heed the farmers' call to develop an effective, comprehensive plan before approving any more mining projects that could jeopardise that food security.

“Agriculture in Australia is already under serious pressure and faces an impossibly dry future thanks to climate change if we let the coal and gas sector keep expanding.

“To let coal and gas directly encroach on farming land and contaminate vital water supplies is simply turning a blind eye to reality.

“But we don't even have to wait for climate change to bite - these mining projects are huge water guzzlers in their own right. Why should their claim on water trump that of farmers?

“We need a comprehensive food security strategy for Australia in the face of the climate crisis, peak oil and the destruction of farming land by urban sprawl, mining and more.

“The NSW Farmers Association is to be congratulated for the bold step in calling for a moratorium on mining projects until a food security strategy can be developed. The NFF should look seriously at following NSW's lead and call for a national moratorium.

“The Gillard government should heed farmers' concerns and move on developing a food security plan before letting any more mining projects destroy more farming land forever.”