“It’s a shame that global racing identities have to weigh in from overseas against the jobs of battling Hunter Valley miners and that the local thoroughbred breeders aren’t able to help find a workable compromise,” NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said yesterday.
“It’s a shame because it doesn’t have to be like this.
“This should not be zero sum choice. These two Hunter industries should be working together to find a compromise that saves the jobs of the 500 Drayton miners and in other local industries.
"The Drayton mine has been operating for decades. The proposed extension is on land owned by the mine. The application for the mine extension has been in the planning system for over four years and many changes have been made to the application in response to concerns raised by others.”
"These changes have been made in an attempt to reach a compromise, and following much discussion and negotiation. Unfortunately two large horse studs have decided no compromise is possible.
“This 'all or nothing’ approach to shut mining down in the Hunter ignores the history and the reality of the Hunter economy where 12,000 mining workers live.
"Thoroughbred breeding and mining have much in common. Both provide important jobs for local people. Both have some level of foreign ownership, and both have impacts that can be controversial, whether it be the social impacts of gambling or the environmental impacts of mining.
"These two industries are important and so are the jobs they provide, so let's find a compromise where everyone gives a little for the sake of the hundreds of local people whose jobs are on the line."
British thoroughbred breeder David Redvers said he would establish a multi-million dollar stud in New Zealand or Victoria instead of NSW after seeing the Hunter coalfields when flying over the region in April, expressing “shock” at the “scale of destruction of what is prime country”
These concerns were echoed by Darley Stud managing director Henry Plumptre saying that “every new successful mining application is going to be a nail in the thoroughbred industry’s coffin”
Then in June the Hunter Valley Thoroughbred Breeders said the Department of Planning’s rejection of the NSW government’s independent planning assessment commission decision that Anglo American’s Drayton South mine should not go ahead could force the world’s biggest breeders to abandon their Hunter Valley operations.
The HTBA said the decision showed a “total disregard for the health and safety of the families that live on our stud farms less than 500m from this proposed open cut coal mine”
“It is incomprehensible that a government department can, with the stroke of a pen, dismiss the advice of two independent bodies appointed by the government and signal the death knell of an entire industry in the Hunter Valley, billions of dollars of investment and thousands of jobs for the sake of one mine,” the HTBA said.