For the last 12 months, the mining industry generally has been one of the most discussed topics linked to the Australian economy.
The Federal Government is demanding mining companies pay higher taxes as international demand for our coal and ores continues to grow and sections of the mining industry have pursued another highly lucrative area—coal seam gas extraction.
Sadly, a large percentage of the Australian public is thoroughly confused. The Government continues to describe mining companies as greedy and insists all Australians should share some of the company profits….mining companies complain the new taxes are way too high and that apart from providing so many jobs (and they do!) we may eventually price ourselves out of world markets….the Green Party seems to be in favour of stopping all forms of mining (‘to protect the environment’)….and farmers want protection from mining because so many companies are demanding the ‘right’ to explore for coal seam gas on our finest agricultural and grazing land….
There is some truth coming from all sections, with, in my opinion, the exception of the Greens.
I’ll put myself in the firing line and declare I am in favour of all forms of mining, providing such activities are restricted to areas far removed from population centres and prime agricultural farming and grazing land and that every precaution is taken to ensure natural water supplies are unaffected.
The thought of some companies being granted the permission they demand to drill for coal seam gas in or near cities and towns is appalling!
Yet, such demands are on the record! Some overseas companies have actually lobbied for permission to drill in a semi industrial suburb like St Peters in Sydney. St Peters is literally on the doorstep of Sydney’s only international airport and is ringed by densely populated suburbs which are the proverbial stones throw from the Sydney CBD!
These companies are determined to start experimental drilling all the way from Wollongong on the NSW South Coast to the lower reaches of the NSW North Coast!
Other mining companies are desperate to hack into the beautiful wine growing land and tourist destinations in the Hunter Valley, just north of Sydney and west of Newcastle!
The Poisoned Land is a relatively lightweight story, but does delve a little way into the topic.