February 20, 2013
NSW Farmers welcomed the announcement overnight of a tougher approach to coal seam gas regulation by Premier Barry O’Farrell. The announcement coincides with a meeting in Sydney today of the association’s policy setting council comprised of 70 farmer representatives from around the state. Representatives at the meeting welcomed the announcement but also pointed out that more needs to be done to protect food and fibre producers, not just urban residents. NSW Farmers’ President Fiona Simson said the challenge for today’s Coalition party room meeting was simple – to seek a consistent approach for the entire agriculture sector as well as urban areas, vineyards and horse studs. “NSW Farmers has consistently advocated for a measured approach to mining and CSG policy. We believe there are places in this state that are too priceless to put at risk through mining and gas activities. “Today, the O’Farrell Government has reached the same conclusion but hasn’t extended that to our food and fibre producing lands. We think nothing should be more important. “We’re calling on today’s party room meeting to take four simple steps to make this announcement mean something for the bush. They are ruling our most productive farm land off limits and broadening this policy to coal and other minerals – not just coal seam gas,” Ms Simson concluded. Farmers from around the state said during debate today that it would be extremely disheartening to see the state government’s coal seam gas policy fail to value significant stretches of farm land the same way that residential and other industries are being valued.