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Hunter Breeders Support Coalition Land Use Policy
In the lead-up to next month's NSW state election, the NSW Liberal-National Coalition yesterday announced its Strategic Regional Land Use policy, which the Thoroughbred Breeders of the Hunter Valley immediately declared "is a long-awaited step in the right direction". HTBA president Wayne Bedggood commented: "Restoring balance, certainty & sustainability to the Hunter Valley is absolutely critical & is a key part of our Ten Point Plan of Action. Bedggood said the HTBA has been "calling for a precautionary approach to be applied to the granting of exploration and mining licences throughout their campaign". He added: "In our view, the Hunter Valley's thoroughbred breeding industry is an industry of state significance. It is an internationally-recognised centre of thoroughbred breeding excellence & has the 2nd largest concentration of thoroughbred breeding operations in the world _ 2nd only to Kentucky in the USA. It should be preserved & protected. We look forward to working with the Coalition to define the buffer zones & appropriate ring fencing to achieve this outcome. The Thoroughbred Breeders of the Hunter Valley have been calling for the preservation of our finite strategic agricultural lands. We called for a stop to the sterilisation of productive agricultural lands, the development of strategic land use plans & the assessment of the cumulative impacts of mining in our Ten Point Plan of Action. We are pleased that the Coalition has not only listened, but adopted these principles in their policy."
- Arrowfield Stud chairman John Messara commented: "We are very pleased that the Coalition is applying this principle as one of the central planks of their policy platform. This principle, along with expert advice from independent Planning Assessment Commissioners, worked well in the case of the Bickham Coal Project & is a solid and appropriate foundation upon which all exploration and mining licence decisions should be made."
- Coolmore Australia racing & business manager Tom Magnier added: "Recognising the importance of our strategic agricultural industries, our water security and environmental assets and taking a triple bottom line approach to bring a fairer balance to the Hunter through 'up front' checks & balances is an important step forward. Adopting a whole-of-Government approach will be critical to achieving this outcome."
- Vinery Stud general Manager Peter Orton noted the "devil will be in the detail in the development of the strategic land use plans, the implementation & outcomes of the audits of Exploration Licences, and the development & use of agricultural impact statements". Orton said: "These are all important tools to restore confidence, proper process & genuine consultation to inform Government decision-making on mining in the Hunter Valley. We must get this right."
- Darley Australia managing director Henry Plumptre said: "The Hunter's agricultural industries have been living with unnecessary uncertainty and sovereign risk for far too long. Up-front decisions on where mining can & can't occur will give greater investment & job security to both agricultural & mining industries & allay prolonged community concerns."