Over 600 hundred people joined farmers and Traditional Owners over the weekend in a historic gathering in opposition to the proposed Watermark open cut coal mine on the Liverpool Plains, declaring they will return to support peaceful protest at the site if the mine goes ahead.
The mine is proposed by Shenhua Australia and won approval to go ahead this year from both the New South Wales and Federal Governments, prompting a storm of protest around the country, given the importance and rarity of the black soils and productive aquifers of the region for food and fibre production.
Hundreds of people from city and country joined political supporters Tony Windsor, Jeremy Buckingham MLC and Senator Jacqui Lambie taking part in a Harvest Festival, learning about the cultural, ecological and agricultural values of the area, training to take peaceful protest against the mine and visiting the barley fields that are slated to become part of the open cut pit.
Local farmer Andrew Pursehouse said, “We’ve overwhelmed by people coming here in their hundreds to support our fight. We’ve said before we need a blockade here the scale of which has never been seen before in Australia. The people that came to see the Plains and join us this weekend have pledged their support, and we will need it.”
Sally Kennedy from Sydney attended the Festival and came away determined to join the protest movement, “It is just unbelieveable that our Governments would let a rich and beautiful food growing area like the Liverpool Plains be cut open for coal. If protesting is what it takes to stop this mine, then we city people are ready to join the farmers and Traditional Owners in that effort.”