NuCoal decision highlights unbalanced mining access laws

MEDIA RELEASE – 30 November 2011

Greens MP and mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham has called on the NSW Government to suspend the Doyles Creek Coal Mine Exploration Licence and review mining access laws following yesterday’s Land and Environment court decision to grant NuCoal an access arrangement against the express wishes of legally blind farmer, Ian Moore.

“Yesterday’s Land and Environment Court decision highlights the fact that the current law in NSW puts mining companies ahead of the landholder’s rights and food security,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“Barry O’Farrell should step in to suspend NuCoal’s exploration licence and also review the law to bring back some balance and fairness to mining access agreements.

“NuCoal’s exploration licence is now subject to an inquiry by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.  Given the huge question mark over this project, the company should not be allowed to severely disrupt farming operations on the Moore’s property.

“Current law in NSW is geared towards granting access for miners in a situation of unequal bargaining power.  If Barry O’Farrell fails to act, the Greens will look at legislative options to give the above ground operations of landholders increased weight before the law.

“The result in the Land and Environment Court does set an important precedent with the agreement not to drill on the highly productive alluvial plains along the Hunter River.

“Despite this decision, it is not right that an individual landholder gets dragged through arbitration, and then has to take a mining company to court to extract the most basic allowances to protect agricultural land and the water supply that supports it.

“The Greens congratulate Ian and Robyn Moore for taking up this challenge to NuCoal and the unfair mining laws in this state,” he said.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202  or  0419 444 916

 

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