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.Read more
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.
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.Read more
The Lock the Gate Alliance has welcomed this morning's judgement in the NSW Land & Environment Court, which overturns the approval of Rio Tinto's (Coal & Allied's) proposed Warkworth open cut coal mine expansion near Bulga, in the Hunter Valley.
The Warkworth Extension was approved by the NSW O'Farrell Government in February 2012, against the wishes of the adjacent community of Bulga. While NSW law usually prohibits merits-based legal challenges to coal mine approvals, a brief change in the law allowed The Bulga-Milbrodale Progress Association to challenge the approval of the mine in the Court.
“This is a huge win for the community of Bulga, which would have been all but wiped off the map by this coal mine,” said Steve Phillips, Hunter regional coordinator for Lock the Gate. “This mine would have had major impacts on air quality and people's health. It would have destroyed an extremely rare and endangered ecosystem, home to 17 threatened native animal species.Read more
Lock the Gate Alliance has warned Santos that it can expect massive community backlash against its plans to drill hundreds of coal seam gas wells in Pilliga State Forest in north west NSW.
Santos told an industry conference this week in Sydney that it would push ahead with its coal seam gas drilling plans in the Pilliga but that the company would not be forcing its way into places it is not welcome and that it would seek to have as little impact as possible.
"Coal seam gas development is a high-impact land use. It is not welcome in sensitive environmental areas like the Pilliga forest and it is certainly not welcome on the farming land of the Liverpool Plains region,” said Drew Hutton, President of Lock the Gate Alliance.Read more