[ASC-list] Marie Bashir lashes out at loss of farmland for mining

Glenn Conroy glenn1231946 at gmail.com
Tue Mar 10 05:35:53 UTC 2015

Apologies in advnace if you provide mining industry science communication
but previous NSW Governor just got "political:

Former NSW governor Marie Bashir says the destruction of Australian
farmland for mining is a "crisis" that must stop, adding: "I have never
been so emphatic or political in my life."

It is the first time Dame Marie has spoken out against mining after 13
years in the traditionally non-political role of NSW governor. The beloved
dame, who retired late last year, also said her fears about foreign
ownership of Australian land brought out her "nasty side".

Addressing the crowd at an International Women's Day event in Sydney on
Sunday, Dame Bashir said Australia was in the incredible position of being
able to "help to feed the world".

"And of course, what is the counter to that? Digging up precious farm land
for coal … we're expected to be leaving the burning of fossil fuels behind
because of the environment. This is surely contradictory," she said.

Dame Marie said the situation was "a clarion call" to women, adding "I
couldn't be more passionate about a cause than this one. We must do
something to protect our food producing land".

Dame Marie, the daughter of Lebanese immigrants who grew up in Narrandera
in western NSW, said women could make a difference "by lobbying the men,
whether they live under the same roof or are in the same parliament".

"We've all got to take this message to all whom we know. This is, in a
sense, a crisis, disguised though it is," she said.

"The sale of our farmland, and the destruction of our farmland, must stop.
And that is my feeling, and I have never been so emphatic or political in
my life."

In January, farmers on the Liverpool Plains were angered after planning
authorities approved
 the $1.2 billion Shenhua Watermark open-cut coal mine in the fertile
farming region.

The loss of valuable agricultural land has also fuelled opposition to coal
seam gas projects, andindependent candidates in regional seats
 are using the issue against the National Party.

The NSW government has banned coal seam gas mining in horse breeding and
wine-making regions of the Upper Hunter. In the lead-up to the election it
has also cancelled coal seam gas exploration licences
parts of the Central Coast, Sydney Basin and northern NSW.

However the government has delayed telling voters
 where future coal seam gas development will occur until after the election.

NSW Labor wants a permanent ban on coal seam gas in the Northern Rivers
region. Labor leader Luke Foley said last week the region's farm industries
"depend on the purity of the fertile land and the purity of clean water.
Both of those are at risk from coal seam gas."

Dame Marie also recalled a meeting with a Chinese government official
during her time as NSW governor.

The unnamed official said China's biggest security concern was how to feed
its population, telling her "that is why we are looking to Australia, New
Zealand and Southern Africa to buy up as much food-producing land ... to
feed one quarter of the earth's population".

Dame Marie said she would never forget the encounter, which made her aware
she has "a nasty side, and that is [triggered by] the selling off of our
land to foreign investors".

However it appears Dame Marie's opposition to mining is not a blanket one.
In an interview with News Limited in October last year she reportedly
advocated for uranium mining, which is presently banned in NSW.

"Just assume that the day comes when we can make the use of uranium and
nuclear power safe ... who's got the largest deposits of uranium in the
world? Us," she was reported as saying, adding "our potential in so many
ways remains undimmed".
Glenn Conroy
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