Under the Liberal-Nationals or Labor in government, it is coming for New England too.
In Scone, Murrurundi and Muswellbrook I’ve heard from people in the dairying and equine industries about the long-term impacts of fossil fuel mining that will continue to harm agricultural prospects in the Upper Hunter, long after the boom has gone bust.
The massive open pits and voids from fossil fuel mining have created ongoing problems with dust and water contamination.
The so-called ‘rehabilitation’ efforts to fill the voids with disrupted strata just adds to the mix of salt and toxic materials that end up dispersing through the water tables. The groundwater interaction will continue for centuries after the mines are finished.
Even the dormant Dartbrook mine is still emitting 57,000 tons of CO2 and methane a year, contributing to dangerous global warming despite being mothballed for a decade.
Knowing all this, how could any candidate contemplate opening a new fossil fuel mine anywhere in Australia, let alone New England?
The Greens have offered the only safe option for Australia’s farming future: no new coal mines, and no CSG.
None of the other candidates have offered that guarantee.
The Nationals Barnaby Joyce says he would keep new coal mines mines away from farms, and Tony Windsor says he was instrumental in bringing some of the coal mines into the Gunnedah Basin* (Paul Murray Live, 17 March 2016, 24 minute mark).
But I have never opened a coal mine, and I never will.
The Greens plan for jobs in New England includes a transition to renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and promotion of the local livestock industry to scale up meatworks and transportation work in the region.
The local livestock industry favoured by the Greens is a much better economic and environmental option for Australia, compared to the live export regime supported by Barnaby Joyce and Tony Windsor.
To secure Australia's farming future, vote #1 Green.