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Australian breeders renew attack government

NEW South Wales-based breeders have renewed their attack on the NSW Government for failing to provide adequate protection against mining development threatening the Hunter Valley thoroughbred breeding industry.

The Draft Strategic Regional Land Use Plan for the Upper Hunter released this week by the NSW Government acknowledges that "some key agricultural sectors, including thoroughbred breeding and viticulture/winemaking are nationally significant industries."

However the Hunter Valley Breeders Association is critical of the O'Farrell Government for introducing a gateway process which will determine on a project by project basis whether mining applications should proceed to full development approval.

"The NSW Government has recognized that the Hunter Valley's multi-billion dollar industry is nationally significant but the case by case gateway process does not protect us from mining encroachment nor does it provide us with investment certainty" said HTBA president Wayne Bedggood.

"Having mapped and identified critical industry clusters and strategic agricultural lands in the Upper Hunter, we should now be in a better position to know where mining can and cannot occur so that we can invest in the future with confidence.

"The Government's draft strategic land use plan fails at this last hurdle.

"The Government has identified and mapped strategic agricultural lands and has announced the establishment of a genuinely independent Mining and Coal Seam Gas Panel of experts.

"These are steps in the right direction but we are disappointed that the Government has not taken the next step to protect those industries.

"Instead this policy paves the way for decades of uncertainty that is in no-one's interest."

Bedgewood said the NSW Government has sufficient evidence to take decisions to genuinely protect nationally significant industries.

"Ring fencing and protecting nationally significantindustries would deliver on the Government's election commitments and provided greater certainty for all," he said.

"We need to put an end to the land use conflict in the Hunter Valley.

"It is our legacy for future generations. We must not squander this opportunity. It is in all our interests to get it right."




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