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Introducing the Liverpool Plains: why we must protect productive farm land from coal and CSG

Kate April 23, 2012 Coal, Coal seam gas, Gas No Comments

The Liverpool Plains are unique, they are located south-west of Tamworth in northern NSW, and are arguably the most productive dry-land farming country in Australia and compare favourably with the best farm land in the world.

Kate Davidson, a fifth generation Liverpool Plains farmer explains (in the video embedded below) that the region has good fertile soil, “yielding 40 per cent above the national average.” She says she’s never seen a crop fail.

In recent years the NSW government has opened the region up to the extractive resources sector, granting coal exploration licences to BHP and Shenhua and a coal seam gas exploration licence to Santos. Farmers in the region are understandably concerned about what this means for the future of their farms and more broadly for Australia’s food security.

Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald last year, Tim Duddy, a farmer on the Liverpool Plains, said:

I cannot overstate the importance to the country of our food producing areas. The Liverpool Plains in the north-west of NSW, where I am from, is an area of just 1.2 million hectares that produces about 37 per cent of the nation’s cereal crops. After 185 years of working the land, locals now use some of the most advanced broad-acre farming practices in the world, while local irrigators led the state in water reform.

In this video from September 2010, farmers from the Liverpool Plains explain why the area must be protected from the coal and coal seam gas industries.

This (pdf) fact sheet compiled by the Caroona Coal Action Group has more details.

 

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