Lock the Gate Alliance this morning accused the coal industry of hypocrisy for lashing out at the sensible decisions by the Planning Assessment Commission to limit one mine and reject another.
Lock the Gate NSW Coordinator Georgina Woods said, "The coal lobby is wilfully blind to the negative impacts coal mining has on agricultural employment, rural businesses and economic diversity. In the last ten years in the Hunter, the rapid acceleration of coal mining has seen employment in agriculture almost halved."
The Planning Assessment Commission recently rejected the Drayton South coal mine in the Hunter Valley and the Coalpac modification in the Blue Mountains, determining that Drayton South was not in the public interest, because of the devastating impact it would have on the century-old thoroughbred breeding industry in the Hunter Valley.
"Over the last two years, the Planning Assessment Commission has weighed up the impacts of around 30 new coal mines, mine expansion and modification projects, at a rate of one a month. These are the only two proposals in that time that they have rejected. The vast majority of decisions by the PAC favour the mining industry.
"The Drayton South mine was rejected because it would severely impact on world leading horse-breeding studs, who employ significant numbers of people in long-term jobs. Yet on rare occasions like this when a decision is made to place equal value on jobs in other rural industries, the response from the coal industry is to throw a tantrum like a spoilt child.
"The hypocrisy is appalling. The coal industry has ruthlessly shed over 2,500 jobs in the Hunter alone over the last two years, in an effort to shore up their profits as coal prices fall.
"They are willing to risk a thousand more jobs in the equine industry, which will still be here employing people in the Hunter long after the mines are exhausted.
"It’s time for a more mature response from the mining lobby. They need to show some basic respect for people working in agriculture and the businesses which employ them. A large workforce can and should be employed now to rehabilitate mining areas and restore the landscape of the Hunter Valley.
"It's long past time for the coal lobby to accept a few very basic limits on coal mining. Coal mining should not come at the cost of human health or globally significant landscapes or industries."