PROTECT AGRICULTURAL LAND
Zones used for farming and agriculture, or food production, should be exempt from exploration and mining, and designated permanently as such.
I refer to your article 'Will the land access inquiry prompt change?' (Stock Journal website, March 12).
A thank you to Independent Member for Frome Geoff Brock for this inquiry.
As a concerned Australian and South Australian, I consider mining and exploration on viable farming land a dereliction of duty of care, for the environment and future generations.
Who would want to eat any food that has been produced on former mining land? Land that previously was fertile could potentially be unusable after short life mining. This should not all be about investment turnoff, or resource extraction greed. Mining is, on average, only about 30 years, requiring infrastructure, roads, tailings and dams.
Viable farming zones in SA, with the aid of potentially-affected farmers, should be identified and made permanently exempt from exploration and mining.
Farmers should have a higher standing in our society. They battle droughts and plagues to make sure food is steered to our table, providing jobs along the chain.
Why should farmers have to battle mining companies through the courts and perhaps win their case, with the threat that these miners can appeal and win?
Who compensates the farmer for his time, stress, financial loss?
These valuable people should be able to concentrate on what they do best - farming. Future generations may not wish to farm, due to the threat of mining companies entering the gate to explore with government approval. Then what?
At a time when all are concerned with environment destruction and climate change, why would governments allow mining on land that could in future become dust bowls, unusable for anything? Mines have short lives. Agriculture and food production means we either thrive or starve.
Are farmers advised in advance of what explorers are seeking? If it was uranium, this would change the zone completely.
Are our government bodies expecting that after short life mining, farming and agriculture will replace it? What about adjoining farms, waterways and ecosystems?
Another option is to consider importing our food from elsewhere, after mining. One cannot have mining and agriculture on the same spot, at the same time. It does not take a rocket scientist to see this.
A recent example of mining colliding with Indigenous sites and culture is the Juukan Caves 2020 destruction in WA, for a small amount of iron ore. This is no different.
INDEPENDENTS ON NOTICE
The surge in independent representatives at federal and state level, particularly in the Senate and Legislative Councils, has led to a government system that at times is severely hamstrung by the constant negotiation, alteration and significant change that has to be made to policies, legislation and programs, in order to be passed into law.
Each of the Upper House parliaments in Australia today now seem to view themselves as an alternative government, whereby they refuse to pass legislation that they oppose on the grounds of their viewpoint, are unwilling to accommodate any small changes that may be needed, but make unrealistic demands that render some legislation unworkable and ineffective.
Like a young cricketer who takes his bat and ball home after getting out and stops any further play, some independent members want their way or else, and strongly believe they are not subject to another's authority.
Independent members could do well to remember that it is we the voters who have this ultimate power and control.
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