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Pru and plains people in a power pow-wow

Pru GowardLIVERPOOL Plains residents have come face-to-face this week with the minister who could hold their farming futures in her hands.
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The three representatives of the Caroona Coal Action Group (CCAG) travelled to Sydney

to meet with NSW Planning Minister Pru Goward.

The 45-minute discussion centred firmly on Shenhua Watermark’s plans to mineon some of Australia’s most productive agricultural land.

CCAG chairwoman Susan Lyle, who farms in closeproximity to the proposed mine site, said the talks were important.

She said it was pleasing to speak directly with Ms Goward about their concerns over the mine’s impact on the region’s aquifers.

“It’s the water resources of the Namoi Catchment that is the most concerning thing for us, in combination with the productive soils,” she said.

“We’re in this unbelievable area where we have the water, soils and climate to grow two crops a year.

“If (Shenhua) punctures an aquifer, it’s a huge, huge problem – you can’t fix an aquifer.”

Shenhua, which is owned by the Chinese government, is seeking planning approval to extract 268 million tonnes of coal from the open-cut mine.

The Planning Assessment Commission ruled in September the mine was “approvable”, subject to the completion of more water modelling.

The three-person panel concluded it was “generally satisfied” the farmland, at Breeza, could “be mined without significant impacts to the agricultural productivity of the Liverpool Plains”.

The interim ruling shocked many local farmers, who claim the operation will have a “catastrophic impact” on the region’s precious water resources.

Shenhua’s proposal must be signed off by both the state and federal governments.

Mrs Lyle was joined in the meeting – arranged by Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson – by farmers Hugh Price and Prue Green.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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