A win today for a united community against coal seam gas

Published: May 14, 2013

Landholders at Bellata, Gurley & Terry Hie Hie fighting against the renewal of  coal seam gas licence PEL470 are celebrating tonight as news filters through that the farminee agreement between Leichhardt Resources Pty Ltd and Planet Gas Limited has ended.

Planet Gas Limited announced to the ASX this afternoon that they were pulling out in its entirety of NSW.

"Planet Gas and Leichhardt have agreed the exit from each farm-in agreement and Planet Gas will retain no residual interest or liability," said the Planet Gas Limited letter to ASX on 14.05.13.

100% of landholders in 2012 in PEL470 signed declarations and stood together to oppose the renewal and for no further licence to be issued over the lands by the NSW Liberal National  Government.

Minister Hartcher – Resources and Energy renewed the licence February 8th 2013. 

Chair of Bellata Gurley Action Group Against Gas Inc Mrs Penny Blatchford says "the area of Bellata and Gurley is renowned for its highly productive soils and strategic value to agriculture to the state and Australia."

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Farmers challenge Abbott - Put your money where your mouth is on coal and gas

Published: May 08, 2013

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. 

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Abbott challenges Newman and O'Farrell on farmers' right to say no to mining

Published: May 02, 2013

Federal Coalition leader Tony Abbott made clear on radio this morning that a federal Coalition government would support a landowner's right to say no to mining on their land.

This laid out a very clear challenge for state premiers in Queensland and New South Wales to bring legislation to their parliaments giving landowners the right to say no to mining companies demanding access to their land.

Speaking on Alan Jones' 2GB radio program this morning, Mr Abbott made an unequivocal commitment, on behalf of the Coalition, to support landowners' right to say no.

At present, landowners in both states are obliged to negotiate terms of access to mining companies and, if they refuse, could be taken to court and fined, in Queensland's case up to $50,000.

Lock the Gate Alliance president, Drew Hutton, said this inequitable situation was intolerable and needed to be set right immediately.

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Rio Tinto drags Bulga community into the Supreme Court

Published: April 23, 2013

The Lock The Gate Alliance has slammed mining giant Rio Tinto, after it's Hunter Valley subsidiary Coal and Allied appealed to the Supreme Court to allow the Warkworth Extension coal mine project to go ahead. The  project was rejected by the NSW Land and Environment Court last week after the Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association challenged the NSW Government's approval of the mine.

Lock The Gate's regional coordinator for the Hunter, Steve Phillips, said that Rio Tinto was using “bully-boy tactics against the Bulga community”, and rejected misleading statements made about the Warkworth Extension in a Coal and Allied media release announcing the Supreme Court appeal. 

“Rio Tinto are clearly seeking to downplay the scale of the Warkworth Extension project”, Phillips said. “This project is not merely a 'continuation of operations' of the Warkworth mine. The proposal is for an eighteen million tonne per annum, 1200 hectare open cut coal mine in an area currently occupied by farmland and a critically endangered woodland ecosystem. The mine would encroach on the village of Bulga, with much of the town within the mine's compulsory acquisition zone.

“Rio are rejecting the judgement of the Court, and hiding behind the State and Federal approval processes for the mine. But the public have lost faith in these approval processes, which are heavily biased towards mining approvals. As the Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiries Jasper and Acacia are showing, government approval processes for coal mining can and do fail to put the public interest first.

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Mining industry smear tactics will not divide alliance of farmers and environmentalists

Published: April 16, 2013

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. 

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Content on this site is authorised by Georgina Woods for Lock the Gate Alliance, Lismore NSW.