Farmers vow to step up fight to protect agricultural land

FARMERS in NSW have declared they will step up their battle to protect land and water in the ongoing land use battle over coal seam gas and other mining activities.

At a NSW Farmers' Executive Council meeting in Sydney today a motion, put forward by the conservation and resource management committee to take robust action to force the NSW Government to deliver on the original intent of its Strategic Regional Land Use Policy, was supported unanimously.

Committee chair, Rod Young, said the committee was deeply concerned by the way the government had failed farming communities on the issue of mining and CSG.

"Our real fear is if the O'Farrell Government can walk over NSW regional and rural communities on issues like land use conflict, what is it capable of on other important issues we are facing like native vegetation, the Murray Darling Basin Plan and the reform to agricultural services," Mr Young said.

He said NSW Farmers was bitterly disappointed with the NSW Government when it caved in to the powerful mining and energy lobby when it announced its much anticipated land and water protections in September.

Mr Young said farmers wanted their land and water protected as promised by the Coalition Government prior to its election.

"We want a binding aquifer interference regulation, a gateway which can actually stop potentially damaging projects from being approved, a land and water commissioner who actually has some power to protect land and water, and a review of land access laws to give landholders the right to say no," he said.

Some 58% of the community surveyed by Newspoll in June 2012 thought the NSW Government was putting too much emphasis on satisfying the interests of extractive industries compared with about 1% who said too much emphasis was placed on farmers.

Approximately 50% thought more than half of the state's food-producing land should be reserved for agriculture while one in four believed more than 90% should be set aside solely for agriculture.

Topics:  coal seam gas csg nsw farmers

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