Call for protection

Sally Alden

Water is a vital resource, and Bundella producer and President of the NSW Farmers, Fiona Simson will be presenting on why it is crucial to protect.

The former local councillor will be speaking at the Quirindi RSL Club next Tuesday evening on the Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel process and encourages everyone to attend.

“It’s critical that people understand the gateway process and work with the NSW Farmers to ensure that our agricultural land and water will be protected,” Mrs Simson said.

The presentation will be easy to understand, enabling the public to clearly comprehend what the government gateway process does and doesn’t deliver.

“Our region is hugely diversified and benefits greatly from its agricultural industry, it has wonderful natural resources including high quality and high yielding aquifer systems that are critical to the region. This issue affects everyone as the Liverpool Plains host the start of the Mooki River that flows on to become the Murray Darling river system.”

Mrs Simson’s presentation comes on the back of last week’s resignation of two prominent members of the Gateway Panel.
Terry Short, Gateway Chairman and Russell Frith have both resigned, leaving the panel which assesses state-significant projects prior to submission of a development application, rudderless.

“The gateway process has become topical because the Caroona project is currently before the gateway panel. In the wake of the Bylong project being granted a Gateway Certicficate, concerns raised by the NSW Farmers seem vindicated. The Bylong project failed 11 out of 12 criteria posed by the panel but was still granted a gateway certificate to proceed to the next level.”

Mrs Simson will be co-presenting with Hydro Geological expert, Dr Jeff Taylor who will be talking on the impact of mining on underground water supplies.

“Dr Taylor will be presenting on the importance of sound science and robust benchmarking and assessment prior to any extractive industries being given the go ahead,” said Mrs Simson.

Dr Taylor has an in depth knowledge of the Caroona project as the Caroona community engaged him to provide independent advice for the gateway process, and he can provide information specific to the local area and the local water resources.

“He can provide information on the BHP Caroona project specifically and the submissions that his organistation Earth Systems undertook on behalf of the community and the recommendations that he is making,” continued Mrs Simson.

CEO of the Caroona Coal Action Group, Tim Duddy encourages all community members to attend the presentation.

“Dr Taylor will be presenting on the potential impacts on the water resources in the region with specific regard to the BHP Caroona Coal project and the Shenhua Watermark project. He will explain the companies own predictions and outline the potential impacts,” said Mr Duddy.

“If people have concerns on the potential impact of resource extraction in the region, they are encouraged to inform themselves to aid meaningful discussion on what the impacts could be on our community,” Mr Duddy concluded.

The event is sponsored by the NSW Farmers and the Caroona Coal Action Group and neighbours, friends and family are encouraged to attend the Quirindi RSL Club next Tuesday May 6 from 6.00pm to 8.00pm.

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