Farmers back removing exploration licenses

NSW Farmers is calling for bipartisan support to removing Petroleum Exploration Licenses (PELS) from valuable agricultural land.

NSW Farmers President James Jackson says the Association has and always will support any government in making decisions that act to protect agricultural land.

“It was heartening last week to see the NSW Government’s commitment to buy back the Shenhua mine and guarantee the security of local food and fibre production on the Liverpool Plains,” Mr Jackson said.

“Mining and Gas extraction are important to NSW, and in the right place and at the right scale, are an important part of our state’s economy.”

“It was a case of the wrong mine in the wrong location for the Shenhua project. The eleven PELs are also in inappropriate areas where gas extraction can have long term significant detrimental consequences for agriculture, water and the environment and they must be cancelled. We also must look to introduce a new process to ensure this does not happen again.”

Mr Jackson said agriculture in the Western Division of NSW is facing the same uncertainty with exploration being undertaken, regardless of the fragile environmental and agricultural balance our farmers achieve.

“These decisions to allow gas exploration and extraction should not be ad hoc and driven only by financial return. They must be made in a way where all parts of government, State and Federal, work together to ensure that agriculture is front and centre when decisions around other industries are made.”

“As long term advocates for ensuring that agricultural land remains productive for the NSW economy as well, NSW Farmers urges a bipartisan approach to defining how to protect agricultural land for the long term.”

“Agricultural land is a finite resource, and with the many challenges of nature to viability and long term planning, it’s essential that governments provide certainty where they can. This means planning to protect agricultural land first, and then addressing industry developments.”

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