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Hunter Breeders Fight Coal Mines Expansion

Tuesday, 27th March 2007

Australia's leading thoroughbred breeding operations have joined forces to fight expansion of coal-mining in the NSW Hunter Valley, arguing it threatens the livelihood of 77 farms & the viability of other industries such as viticulture & tourism. A joint statement from the Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association, Thoroughbred Breeders Australia & Aushorse declared: "The scale of proposed expansion of new coal mines in the Upper Hunter threatens prime agricultural land, jeopardises hundreds of millions of dollars of investments, the jobs of thousands of people & the rural quality of the region. Water & climate change are linked critical issues affecting the thoroughbred industry. Some horse studs have direct access to water, but the coal & coal-fired power industry has the potential to suck the whole Hunter Valley dry. There is a positive feedback loop of coal, global warming & drought, shown by CSIRO in its study of the dairy industry in the Hunter, as a potential cause of losses of stock due to heat stress as temperatures rise & the climate dries out. The horse breeding industry needs quality grazing land in a pleasant environment with reliable water & clean air." The breeders warned they would be "forced from the area" if the sustainability of the thoroughbred industry was threatened by new mine proposals & extensions. They summed up: "The Hunter Valley thoroughbred horse breeding industry calls for a moratorium on new mines in the Hunter, a cap on coal exports from the Hunter Region & an inquiry into the impacts of the coal industry on the long-term, environmental, economic & social sustainability of the Hunter & other industries."

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