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Hunter Breeders Slam NSW Minerals Council
Thoroughbred Breeders of the Hunter Valley released a statement under the headline: "When Will Enough Mining Be Enough In The Hunter Valley?" The statement declared: "Let us not be misunderstood. The TBHV along with other farming organisations are not asking for a complete halt to mining in the Hunter Valley. We are asking for a pause on new mining decisions so that a sustainable future plan can be developed. A sustainable plan which miners, breeders & farmers all agree is needed & seriously overdue." Reacting to comments from the NSW Minerals Council, the statement continued: "It is disingenuous to suggest that calling for a pause to new mining decisions is akin to asking farmers to stop farming. We are not asking for all mining to stop in the Hunter Valley. Thirty years ago mining was not as pervasive as it is now. In the 1970s, 6 mining titles covering some 9,000ha were issued in our vicinity. The 1980s saw another 13 titles issued covering a similar land area; an area which is roughly equivalent to the size of just one international scale thoroughbred breeding operation. In the last 2 decades mining in our vicinity alone has exploded - over 150 mining titles covering nearly 160,000ha were issued." The TBHV noted: "The NSW Minerals Council says that mining has been in the Hunter Valley for over 150 years & has co-existed with thoroughbred breeders, farmers, wine makers & other industries over that time. In the past this may have been true - not because mining & agriculture are compatible, but because the size of the mining industry was small & sufficiently distanced from sustainable agricultural industries & major breeding operations. This is no longer the case. Through a lack of strategic planning & vision mining titles now surround, are on top of, or beneath & certainly uncomfortably too close to our international scale thoroughbred breeding operations." After emphasising that "the industry contributes over $5 billion to the national GDP & $2.4 billion annually to the NSW economy", the TBHV summed up: "We all have facts & figures. What we don't have is a strategic plan or a vision. And what we don't want to lose, while governments take their time developing one, is our international thoroughbred breeding industry. We are not calling for a ban on all mining. We are not calling for a halt to existing mining operations. What we are calling for is a pause in decision making on new mining applications, before we unwittingly sacrifice another long-term strategic agricultural industry & our global reputation for being one of the best thoroughbred breeding areas in the world."