The Hunter Valley Protection Alliance (HVPA) and local Hunter Valley Wine Country organisations and businesses today announced a new campaign to oppose the establishment of new coal mines in the Hunter Valley.
The campaign, named #NoNewMinesInOurVines, has been launched in response to two applications filed by Yancoal, a Chinese-owned coal producer, to acquire Exploration Leases (ELs) from the New South Wales Government for sites in the wine growing areas of Pokolbin and Broke-Fordwich.
Sally Scarborough, spokesperson for the campaign and National Sales and Marketing Manager at Scarborough Wine Co, said: “Local residents, businesses and organisations alike are overwhelmingly behind #NoNewMinesInOurVines due to the collective belief that the operation of mines in the middle of such an important viticulture and tourism cluster would have detrimental consequences to the industries.”
“We are calling on the NSW government to reject these EL applications and implement protection legislation for this nationally important wine tourism area, just as the South Australia Government has done for the Barossa Valley, and the Western Australian Government has for the Margaret River.”
The group have also presented Insite Planning Services and Edge Land Planning’s Monash Coal Exploration Lease Renewal Submission to the NSW Government. This submission highlights “the significant negative economic and environmental impacts that will result from new mines being established within Hunter Valley Wine Country”.
The HVPA plans to undertake a program of community awareness, including a digital opinion survey to gauge public sentiment on the proposed mines, the results of which will be shared with the NSW Government.
Hunter Valley is one of the most visited wine regions in Australia, with a viticulture industry dating back over two centuries. One of the proposed sites is found adjacent to the Pokolbin State Forest, managed by the state-owned Forestry Corporation, which maintains a policy of “ensuring environmentally, socially and culturally responsible outcomes” when overseeing forest estate.
Scarborough stressed that the HVPA and its associates were not opposed to mining in general but could not “support new mining operations within Hunter Valley Wine Country that will negatively affect these thriving and economically sustainable industries”.