Industry demands protection in Hunter Valley

A year on from their call to the NSW Government to reject the Drayton South open cut coal mine, Australia’s leading breeding, racing, training, and tourism identities are again calling for certainty and protection of the Hunter Valley’s thoroughbred breeding industry.

Following the release of the Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association publication last month, industry leaders, trainers and jockeys have united once again in an open call for the rejection of the Drayton South second open cut coal mine application and to prohibit new mining on and within 10km of the Hunter Valley’s equine critical industry cluster.

“Supporting this campaign is a no brainer,” Gai Waterhouse said.  “We have an international asset, one of the world’s best breeding grounds, right here in the Hunter Valley.  It beggars belief that they are threatened by mining – our industry should be protected.”

The Hunter Valley’s thoroughbred breeding industry is the bedrock of the NSW and Australian racing industry.  It contributes more than $2.60 billion every year to the NSW economy and more than $5 billion to the Australian economy.

One in two racehorses foaled in Australia every year are born in the Hunter Valley.  In the past 10 years all Golden Slipper winners, the world’s richest race for two year olds, have been sired by Hunter Valley stallions.

“The horse capital of Australia is located here in the Hunter Valley,” Scone Race Club president Noel Leckie said.  “Our world renowned industry has taken over 150 years to develop to where we are today.  If this mine is approved it would be a tragedy of immeasurable proportions for our racing and breeding industry here in NSW.”

Anglo American’s Drayton South mine was set to be a replacement for the existing Drayton mine – its reserves are coming to an end after operating for 30 years.

The project would have extended the life of the coal mine for 20 years and produced a total of 97 million tonnes of coal.  Anglo claimed continuity of employment for 500 workers and 140 local suppliers hinged on the extension being approved by the NSW Planning and Assessment Committee.