THE Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association (HTBA) was outraged on Monday at the Department of Planning’s recommendation that the Drayton South mine should be approved.
“It beggars belief that the Department of Planning continues to support this proposal against the expert advice of three independent PACs and the NSW Gateway Panel,” HTBA president Dr Cameron Collins said.
“The only people who have ever thought this project was approvable are either working for Anglo American or the Department of Planning.
“This is also against a backdrop where the mine’s owners have rendered it as “non core” and put it up for sale. In the meantime, we are left with uncertainty for the protection and future of our industry.
“What is extraordinary about the Department’s position is that it is prepared to allow the sacrifice of a sustainable long-term industry for the sake of one mine whose future is unknown.
“In doing so, the Department relies on economic “theories” that have no application in the realities of our industry and betray a breathtaking ignorance of the thoroughbred breeding industry.
“Enough is enough. We have lost confidence in a Department that is prepared to continually support mining proposals contrary to expert and independent PAC advice.
“Premier Baird and Planning Minister Stokes need to take control of this matter.
“End the charade, end the uncertainty and deliver on the protections to the equine industry the NSW Coalition promised in 2012.”
The HTBA now calls on Premier Baird and Minister Stokes to immediately implement the recommendations made by the PAC in November last year to safeguard Australia’s nationally and internationally important thoroughbred breeding industry through appropriate buffers, exclusionary zones or preservation measures.
“We, and the community of the Upper Hunter, have been through six long years of assessment; two applications for a mine that is not in the public interest; and 3 refusals by 3 PACs,” Dr Collins added.
“We need a guarantee from the NSW Government that we will have a future and will be able to invest in our future without the threat posed by mining.
“We need leadership, not heads in the sand from the Government. Premier Baird and Minister Stokes need to step up.
“The time has come for them to intervene, reject this mine, protect our industry and put an end to the land use conflict in the Hunter Valley.”
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