Licence buy-back a winner but Shenhua must be next

NSW Farmers has always acknowledged the role mining plays in our economy and community. However we have known even before exploration licences were granted that mining prime agricultural land like the black soils of the Liverpool Plains, would be a failure of judgement.

We have fought long and hard, to protect one of Australia's iconic agricultural resources, aiming to preserve a true agricultural food bowl. We have always believed that if the liverpool plains were mined that it never could be replaced and that future generations would judge us for wasting our food growing potential, just to make a few quick bucks.

With the announcement last week by the NSW Baird Government, that it would buy back  the Exploration License of BHP Billiton over Caroona, we have a welcome recognition not just of the importance of the Plains to NSW agriculture but indeed its role as one of the State's key, blue chip assets. Such that the government is now confident in providing what is acknowledged as significant capital, in order to preserve prime agricultural land for the future.

By buying back the license and helping end tension and uncertainty across our industry the NSW Baird Government has helped end a mistake of another era. With this decisive and commendable decision we have a clearer future for our food and fibre in NSW.

But the Liverpool Plains isn’t out of the woods just yet. Shenhua Watermark remains and some politicians have been publically defending the multi billion dollar project in recent days, distinguishing it from Caroona.

Nevertheless, I am optimistic that we will see Shenhua off the Plains before too long, and we’ll be able to continue to grow our opportunities in this region and across NSW without the uncertainty brought about by proposals to mine our prime areas.

Contact: NSW Farmers

Phone: 1300 794 000

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