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Nationals put mining ahead of farmers.



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Bob Brown

Australian Senate Australian Greens Senator for Tasmania

media release

27 November 2008

Nationals put mining ahead of farmers

The Australian Greens are appalled that the Nationals have buckled to mining industry pressure to allow mining exploration under prime farming land without a water sustainability study.

Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown, who today moved amendments to the Water Amendment Bill, originally proposed in the lower house by New England Independent Tony Windsor, said the Nationals had buckled under mining industry pressure.

"When it came to the crunch - the mining industry raised its finger and the Nationals have come to heel."

"These amendments are supported by farmers at Caroona and other farming communities throughout the Murray-Darling Basin - and they were supported by the Senate until this morning."

"But in the space of 24 hours, the Nationals have withdrawn their support for farmers."

"If BHP Billiton or any other juggernaut wants to commence mining, then a hydrology study is required - but the Nationals' amendments mean they may be ignored even if significant damage to farmlands will result."

"The Greens see it differently - prime agricultural land should be protected and farmed sustainably, and the mining industry should not be allowed to make Australia's farms less productive by adversely affecting local hydrology."

For Hansard see 27.11.08: http://www.aph.gov.au/thisweek/hansard.htm

Further information: Russell Kelly 0438 376 082.