Lock the Gate Alliance is calling on Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to deliver 'real action' to protect farmland from mining after he back-flipped last week on statements saying that farmers should have a right to say no.
On breakfast radio last week, Abbott said, “Miners should not go on to farms if they are not wanted … It’s very wrong and they shouldn't be going on to land where the relevant land owners don’t want them, and it’s as simple as that.” However, he later tried to pass the issue off to the states, suggesting that it was not a Federal issue.
Lock the Gate Alliance has described the back-flip as very poor form and has asked Abbott to deliver on his statements by introducing a Bill into Federal Parliament when it resumes next week to protect farmland from invasive mining.
"We're asking Tony Abbott to stop playing politics with this issue and to deliver some real action. Last week he tried to pass all responsibility for action off on to state governments, but in this case, the buck stops with him,” said Drew Hutton, President of Lock the Gate Alliance.
"If he expects farmers to believe anything he says on this issue in the future, then he really needs to introduce a Bill into Federal Parliament when it resumes next week, to protect farmland from coal and gas mining.
“If the Federal government were to enact a law to protect farmland, then the miners wouldn't be able to get on to that land - it's as simple as that.
“You either support a landholder’s right to say no to big mining invading the farms that feed us, or you don’t. Abbott and his colleagues need to make up their minds,” said Hutton.
“We have today written to Tony Abbott and Ian Macfarlane urging them to go beyond talk and deliver genuine reform to protect Australia's land and water from coal and gas mining.
“We have provided them with copies of our national reform platform, our Call to Country, which aims to safeguard our farmers and communities and ensure a strong and sustainable economy.
“In March we released mapping that shows more than half of Australia is covered by coal and gas licences or applications.
“The rights of landholders to be able to enjoy their property and for farmers to be able to supply food for our country is too important to play politics with,” said Hutton.