The NSW Minerals Council has today made an outrageous attempt to shut down the right of farmers to speak out about their concerns on the impacts of coal seam gas mining, according to The Lock the Gate Alliance.
National Coordinator of the Lock the Gate Alliance, Phil Laird, said it was crucial the NSW public could hear from farmers who were taking a stand against the threats of mining to their community, their land and their precious water resources.
"It's outrageous that the mining industry thinks it can shut down a charity which was created to provide basic support for farmers who are being booted off their land or having their water supplies ruined by multi-national mining companies,” Mr Laird said today.
“This smacks of bullying - mining giants kicking communities while they are down, and trying to shut down the one organisation that is there to help them out.
“It also raises a serious question of why big overseas mining industries are trying to stop debate about the role of coal seam gas and mining in the lead-up to the NSW State Election.
"The Lock the Gate Alliance operates in accordance with a peaceful code of conduct and our main purpose is to protect farmland, environmentally sensitive areas and water resources, and to advocate for people whose properties, livelihoods or health are at risk from unsafe mining operations
“The NSW Minerals Council is a lobby group with unfettered access to Premier Mike Baird, now it wants to make sure other voices are locked out of the public discussion on mining.
"It's inappropriate for the industry to try and silence community debate on the impacts of coal seam gas and coal mining on communities and the essentials for life, and to take away the basic right of people to have a charity who advocates on their behalf when they are up against some of the biggest mining companies in the world.
“It’s famers and community groups that are bringing forward evidence of environmental damage, water contamination and mining corruption. It’s no wonder the industry is doing whatever it can to shut down these voices and avoid effective scrutiny,” Mr Laird said.