Gas protestors will “turn on NSW farmers”: Hartcher

NSW Resources and Energy Minister Chris Hartcher has written to country newspapers warning locals that coal seam gas protestors will soon "turn on NSW farmers".

The letter comes in preparation for a demonstration against coal seam gas tomorrow in Sydney.

"The rally sees the farmers standing alongside GetUp and Stop CSG Illawarra – a disturbing marriage for farmers who know the real agenda of these groups," Hartcher said.

In his letter Hartcher highlighted what he saw as a contradiction in an alliance between coal seam gas opponents and farmers.

"GetUp has continuing campaigns to ban live cattle exports while Stop CSG Illawarra organisers are members of the Socialist Alliance," he said.

"As listed on the group’s website, policies include 'sharply reducing cattle and sheep numbers to minimise methane emissions per head'; 'permit[ting] land clearing only in exceptional circumstances and only when offset by the reforestation of equal areas of similar native vegetation;' and 'a shift away from fossil-fuel based chemical pesticides and fertilisers.'"

Hartcher said that because the NSW Government had tightened regulations on the CSG industry protestors would soon turn their attention to opposing farmers.

"If these groups succeed in stopping exploratory drilling, how long will it be before they reduce farming viability and stop farmers from drilling bore holes?" he said.

In a statement earlier this month NSW Farmers said it was leading the Protect our Land and Water rally because the NSW Government had failed to deliver on election commitments.

"Before the election, the Liberal and National Party Coalition promised a strong and clear land use plan to restore balance and certainty; to protect our land and water resources and to identify areas where mining can and can't occur," it said.

"The NSW Government's draft policy has pulled up short on delivery."

NSW Farmers said mining and CSG was "important for our economy" but without balance it threatened the land and water of rural areas.

The Country Women's Association of NSW, Lock the Gate, the Nature Conservation Council, and other groups are also joining the protest.

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