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Chinese government-owned mining company continue to move in on Ausralian farm land.

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Media Release Mark Coulton Federal Member for Parkes Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Water Resources and Conservation.

June 16th 2009

Chinese government-owned mining company continue to move in on Australian farm land

Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton has warned Parliament of the danger of the sale of tens of thousands of acres of some of Australia’s most productive agricultural land to a Chinese Government-owned mining company.

During a speech in Parliament this morning Mr Coulton said he continued to receive reports about Shenhua purchasing large tracts of farm land in the Gunnedah district.

He said that Shenhua’s apparent open chequebook policy has already seen the transfer of up to five properties in the area currently being explored by the mining giant.

“I understand that in the last couple of weeks the corporation has purchased four or five properties for large amounts of money, with settlement subject to the Foreign Investment Review Board,” he said.

“While I do not wish ill of the people who have sold their properties for quite substantial profit, I do think as a community and as a nation we need to decide whether we want a 50,000 acre Chinese government-owned mine in the middle of some of the most productive agricultural land in Australia.”

Mr Coulton said any that damage done by mining to the underground aquifers that sustain the region’s black soil plains would devastate the local economy and threaten Australia’s food production.

“What concerns me is that this corporation is used to mining in other parts of the world,” he said.

“Are they going to be brought to heel by the NSW government, which received $300 million for this exploration licence? Are they going to be subject to the same planning and environmental considerations as other coalminers?”

Media contact: Jeremy Scott (02) 6277 4607/0419 467 546