Tamworth’s Peter Mort thinks the public is unaware of the costs associated with the coal mining industry.
THE coal and coal seam gas industries would like we, the broader community, to remain ignorant of the many hidden “costs” of their practices: costs which will be borne by members of the community for many years to come.
n The social disruption to community and family life of having large numbers of mostly male workers living away from their families when on shift. These workers are often housed in artificial, dormitory-style “villages” on the outskirts of rural towns. They don’t assimilate and belong to such towns and participate in community life. Nor do they spend the bulk of their earnings locally, despite what the coal industry would have us believe;
*The local businesses that can’t compete with the mines’ wages in order to attract employees;
* The dust-filled air and potential health consequences that communities like Muswellbrook have to deal with;
*The increasing numbers of homeless locals who can no longer afford the rent that has been
inflated by demand from mine employees;
*The other industries that get squeezed off their land, as is happening across the Hunter Valley. Thoroughbred horse breeders, vineyards, tourism and farm-stay operators and other rural industries deemed by our governments to be less worthy of existence than coal mines;
*The loss of biodiversity and critical native habitat. The impact of mine “accidents” and coal seam gas drilling on nearby water supplies. The “rehabilitated” mine site with its gaping hole that never leaves the landscape in anything like its original form for future use; and
*The fact that, according to the NSW Department of Planning, in the case of the proposed Maules Creek open-cut coal mine site near Boggabri, it is neither “reasonable nor feasible” to expect the final void to be filled. A void that will cover 170 hectares and take 350 years to fill naturally.
Those who represent these industries work very hard to ingratiate themselves to successive state and federal governments.
Now is the time to talk to a politician to let them know that you don’t want the Liverpool Plains and Gunnedah Basin to end up looking like the Hunter Valley.
Visit this website for good aerial photos of that damage: http://archive.lee.greens.org.au/index.php/index.php/content/view/1352/65
It seems that little has been done by our governments to protect prime agricultural land from this cancerous industry, while many overseas countries are increasingly moving away from dependence on fossil fuel-based economies.