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New plan to rip up farm land for brown coal must be stopped

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 22 Jul 2011

The proposal to explore 500 square kilometres of prime agricultural and forestry land in the Otways with a view to strip-mining is economic and environmental stupidity, Federal Greens Senator Richard Di Natale said today.

“The impact on the environment and on communities in the Otways would be devastating,” Senator Di Natale said.

“Every local enterprise, from tourism to farming, would be affected by a polluting brown coal mine that could end up stretching from Colac to Deans Marsh.

“This is my community and my neighbours whose livelihoods are at stake here, and they have every right to be concerned.

“This new mine proposal isn’t even about protecting existing jobs – it’s about starting a new industry in the highly polluting and expensive business of exporting brown coal.

“At a time when we finally have action on climate change, this proposal is a huge step backwards.  Federal and state governments can stop this new polluting industry before it gets off the ground and now is the time to do it.”

Victorian Greens MP Greg Barber said Mantle Mining has applied to the Minister for Energy and Resources Michael O’Brien for a licence to explore the Otways region for brown coal, with a view to exporting the brown coal to India.

“The Baillieu Government are throwing barriers in the way of wind farms, and now it seems they’re ready to entertain the notion that a new and dirty brown coal industry is the way of the future,” Mr Barber said.

“It’s alarming that the Minister for Energy and Resources doesn’t understand that Victorians are asking for cleaner energy and a healthy environment.

“Exporting brown coal is an idea that has never worked for us before, and should have died in the last century.

“This is a short-sighted grab for cash before coal is phased out permanently, ignoring the long-term value of farmland, the biodiversity of the region and water supply for Geelong.

“Regional Victoria now has great opportunities for clean and renewable energy and to grow its agricultural sector, opportunities that will be lost if state and federal governments commit to these dinosaur industries.”

A community meeting regarding Mantle Mining’s proposal will be held at the Deans Marsh Memorial Hall, 7pm, Wednesday 27 July 2011. A fact sheet is attached.

Media contact: Elissa McKay 0457 901 600

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