National Farmers’ Federation, Media Release, 21 April 2021
The National Farmers’ Federation welcomes today’s announcement to end plans for the development of the proposed Shenhua coal mine on the Liverpool Plains.
“After more than 13 long years, farmers and the Liverpool Plains community can almost breathe a sigh of relief that this process has finally ended,” President and Liverpool Plains farmer Fiona Simson said.
“The fertile black soil of the Liverpool Plains is some of the best farm land in Australia. It is a region of national significance.
“It is also home to the largest single underground water resource in the Murray Darling Basin. The proposed mine was never in the national interest and should never have been considered in the first place.
“Almost half a billion dollars has now been spent by the NSW Government on this poorly planned project, money that could have been invested in research, development and improving agricultural productivity and supply chains. This represents a huge opportunity cost for the region and we lament the loss immensely.
“This has been a long fight for our communities; it has been divisive and devastating to many, who have been left in a perpetual state of uncertainty.
“We certainly hope this is the absolute end of this very difficult chapter and not another cause for false hope for farmers and communities. If this isn’t the end, the Government will need to explain to farmers why not.”
Ms Simson said the NFF had a goal for Australian agriculture to tally $100 billion in farm gate output by 2030.
“To achieve this goal, we must safeguard nationally significant agricultural land, like that in the Liverpool Plains, for the long-term to ensure it can continue to grow world class food and fibre and form the basis of strong and vibrant communities. As nationally significant agricultural lands they now need legislative protection to ensure their agricultural future,” Ms Simson said.
Ms Simson said the NFF congratulated the NSW Government and the Future Food Systems CRC on it’s recently announced collaboration for a jobs precinct in the region.
“This initiative sets the gold standard as to how community-based strategic planning should occur and the NFF hopes that it provides the way forward for other strong and vibrant agricultural precincts across Australia,” Ms Simson said.