Hats off to the tireless farmers of the Liverpool Plains! They’ve just won another victory to protect their fertile farmlands from coal mining. And now they’re going for Gold.
I first joined the farmers at their blockade against BHP at Breeza in 2008 carrying GetUp!’s lemon and solar-powered Climate Relay Torch. What an alternative energy contraption that was! In 2016, I returned to helped these same brave farmer’s protect their precious plains from further coal mining threats.
Click here to see the low-fi film I made for the Land Water Future campaign documenting how we braved the elements to raise this important issue with a float in the Tamworth Country Music Festival’s Cavalcade starring Golden Guitar winner Luke O’Shea and an inflatable cow called Theresa from Breeza. Troy Cassar-Daley makes an appearance as do the ever-loveable Knitting Nannas alongside Traditional Owner Mitchum Neave, farmer John Hamparsum and Sarah Sulman from the Liverpool Plains Youth.
At this stage BHP still had an exploration licence over a prime slice of soil ranked as the second richest in the world. 13 years ago, the Chinese mining giant Shenhua also moved in, displacing families and creating an uncertain future for those who stayed. But thanks to ongoing resistance by farmers and friends, BHP was bought out by the NSW government for $200 million in 2016 and, just last Tuesday we learned that Shenhua too have been paid a further $100 million on top of a previous $262 million to exit their coal mining lease.
It would be amazing if our governments wouldn’t sell off these licences in the first place but I’m happy for my taxes to be used in this way to protect us all from further cooking the climate. It’s really a small price to pay, and also ensures our food security.
Let’s back these resilient farmers in their demand to permanently ban mining on one of Australia’s richest farming areas in the lead up to the Upper Hunter byelection on May 22, 2021.