Horse breeders lash out against coal development in the Hunter Valley

Top Australian horse breeders and racing personalities have joined communities in the Hunter Valley to protest against the development of the proposed Drayton South coalmine near Muswelbrook.

A new video has been launched on Youtube, as well as a full-page advertisement in the Daily Telegraph today, which states that other industries in the Hunter Valley such as horse-breeding, wine-growing and tourism, are threatened by the coal-mining industry.

Among the 29 signatories and supporters of the campaign are Gai Waterhouse, Bart Cummings and Peter Snowden.

Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association president Dr Cameron Collins said the various industries of the Hunter Valley cannot allow the area to be destroyed, which will occur from noise pollution from blasting, and compromises to water and air quality.

‘‘These industries have been the backbone of the Hunter Valley’s diverse economy for generations,” he said.

‘‘Most people probably don’t realise that half of all the racehorses in Australia are born in the Hunter Valley.

“Thirty years ago mining was in the distance. Now it is at our doorstep. It affects every aspect of our lives – our air quality, our health, our water, our land and our livelihoods.’’

The Drayton South expansion plans were already recommended for rejection by the Planning Assessment Commission last year, and has been under review again by a new panel on behalf of planning minister Brad Hazard.

Anglo American’s Drayton South project proposal is just 500 metres from some of the region’s most prized horse studs, which prompted breeders to call on the NSW state government to implement buffer zones.

The Drayton South expansion was to be a replacement for Drayton mine which is set to run out of coal in 2017.

Image: ABC

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.