The NSW Government's decision to renew the remaining part of the coal exploration license for the Shenhua Watermark project is “irresponsible” will potentially devastate the prime agricultural land of the Liverpool Plains.
The black soils of the Liverpool Plains are some of the richest farmland in Australia. Annual agricultural production is worth well in excess of $2 billion. Local farmers, such as John Hamparsum an award winning sustainable farmer, are worried . "It's about mining versus dining," If this mine goes ahead it will ruin the food bowl."
Mr Hamparsum argues that the environment minister cherry-picked information from the IESC's findings and other scientific reports to justify granting approval for the mine in July 2015.
Now the NSW Liberal government has given the go ahead, knowing that the mining company will need to draw on the water table for its mine.The whole ecosystem in that area is completely linked and it's completely false to suggest that there will be no impact on the Liverpool Plains.
Shadow Minister for Industry Resources and Energy, Adam Searle MLC says
NSW Labor is staunchly opposed to mining in the Liverpool Plains, which is prime agricultural land, and any exploration could have enormous impact to the water table and food bowl. NSW Labor has previously called on the Berejiklian Government to shut Shenhua down.
“The Minister cannot be trusted when he says the NSW Government will not release other parts of the Liverpool Plains for exploration. If that’s the case, why did they renew the license?
“The Berejiklian Government did not have to hand over $262 million for the expired license- but it did. The Berejiklian Government did not have to renew part of the license today but it did. It just exemplifies a government with the wrong priorities.
“The Liberal-National Government should have listened to NSW Labor’s calls to shut this project down, as it was permitted to do under the original agreement. Instead, we’re back in the position of potentially seeing the Liverpool Plains water table and food bowl being compromised by unnecessary mining.”