Turnbull must end special treatment of mining and stand with farmers to protect land, water and communities

Published: September 15, 2015

The Lock the Gate Alliance has welcomed the appointment of new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as a renewed opportunity for an end to special treatment for the mining industry and greater protection for land, water and rural communities.

Tony Abbott was a firm believer that coal was ‘good’ for humanity and under his government the Carmichael mega coal mine in the Galilee Basin and the Shenhua Watermark mine on the Liverpool Plains were given the green light.

In recent months, the Abbott Government moved to silence the voice of farmers and communities by weakening environmental law and attempting to hand environmental powers back to the states.

Malcolm Turnbull should take this opportunity to abandon plans for these undemocratic changes to the law and stand with farmers, Indigenous Traditional Owners and regional communities so they can have their say, said Phil Laird, Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson.

“A new poll released today shows shown almost two-thirds (64%) of Australians say the Abbott Government is putting the interests of the mining industry ahead of Australian farmers and the agricultural industries,” he said.

“A vast majority of people (80%) say we should be able to protect our water, farmland and special natural places from mining.

“With coal mining on the wane globally, the new Prime Minister has the chance to reassess how the industry impacts on other industries and communities and take a more balanced approach.

“Last night the Prime Minster Turnbull sent an encouraging tweet that, “the Liverpool plains are an agricultural treasure which must be protected which means thorough science and hydrology”.

“We want to see those words turned into action that keeps one of our finest food bowls, the Liverpool Plains, safe and stops Shenhua’s controversial Watermark mine from going ahead.

“I am leading a delegation of farmers from several mine-affected regions to visit Canberra today. We will meet several MPs to explain why environmental laws should not be weakened and to share our personal stories of how land and water is placed at risk from reckless coal and gas mining.

“We ask the new Prime Minister for the opportunity to meet with him in coming weeks and do the same,” Mr Laird said.

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