Lock the Gate Alliance is warning the mining industry that its smear tactics will not divide and conquer the indomitable alliance between farmers and environmentalists.
"The attitude expressed by the NSW Minerals Council's Stephen Galilee in today's Daily Telegraph is a prime example of what forced farmers in NSW and QLD to create Lock the Gate Alliance in the first place," said Drew Hutton, President of Lock the Gate Alliance.
"Farmers and other rural and regional landholders were fed up with being the collateral damage in the rush to dig up and drill out as much coal and gas as our governments would allow. The laws that govern mining meant that farmers were perpetually the weaker partner in negotiations, the best deal a landholder could cut would be a bit of compensation money. But farmers don't want mining money, they want to farm.
"In the Hunter Valley wine-makers and horse breeders were sick, quite literally, of coal expansion at any cost. On Queensland's Darling Downs farmers were similarly frustrated with the aggressive push to establish more mines and gasfields on productive agricultural land.
"Farming families were fed up then and they are fed up now - but the difference is that people in these regional non-mining industries have now stood up and said enough is enough.
"We've locked the gate on the invasive coal and unconventional gas industries and they don't like it one bit.
"These latest remarks by the mining industry to aggressively misrepresent Lock the Gate Alliance exemplify the industry's desperation as it strives to remain relevant.
"Our purpose is clear. We're after sustainable solutions to food and energy production. That's no trap, it's common sense.
"The NSW Minerals Council can criticise Lock the Gate Alliance and try to erase from existence the farmers and regional communities that make up our movement, but they can't ignore the thousands of gates that have been firmly locked in opposition to an industry that pushed it too far for too long," he said.