A farmer-led coalition that involves stop coal and coal seam gas (CSG) groups, online protest group GetUp!, a peak wine industry body, a thoroughbred horse association, and even the Country Women's Association, will coordinate a mass protest at NSW parliament on May 1.
The protest coalition is furious that the Barry O'Farrell government’s recently released Strategic Regional Land Use Policy fails to meet a pre-election promise to protect key land and water resources from the coal and CSG industries. The draft policy fails protect any area of NSW from coal and CSG interests.
“The decision to rally has not been taken lightly," NSW Farmers president Fiona Simson said on April 3. “Protecting our precious land and water is an issue which affects everyone in NSW. The seriousness of this issue is reflected in the diverse backgrounds of those prepared to march shoulder to shoulder to parliament house on 1 May.
“In the past 10 years, we have seen an unprecedented escalation of mining and coal seam gas activity across the state [which] threatens the long-term sustainability of our land, water, environment and the future of other vital industries and regional communities.
“Communities everywhere understand this issue is too important to let the government back away from its commitment. They won’t let that happen.”
As well as NSW Farmers, the rally is supported by the Caroona Coal Action Group, the Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association, the Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association, the Lock the Gate Alliance, the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, the Southern Highlands Coal Action Group, Stop CSG Sydney, Stop CSG Illawarra and other groups.
The May 1 “Protect our land and water rally” starts at noon at Martin Place, between Philip and Elizabeth streets, for a 12.30pm march on parliament. NSW Farmers is also urging residents to lodge a submission with the government on the draft land use policy before the May 3 close of submissions.
[For more information on the rally visit nswfarmers.org.au/ourlandourwater. Read more articles by Paul Benedek here.]