Vanguard October 2014 p. 7
The leaders of some Australian farmer organisation appear to have joined with mining companies to promote the interests of miners over those of farmers.
The President of the National Farmers’ Federation, Brent Finlay has come out in support of coal-seam gas mining.
He urged rural communities to be open-minded about coal-seam gas mining and not turn their backs on its potential benefits. He also attacked the Lock The Gate group, accusing it of running “scare campaigns” in rural areas and “not being completely transparent” in its motives.
In August the NFF hosted a meeting with the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association for “interested parties.” Brent Finlay made no apology for forming a working relationship between the NFF and the APPEA.
The NFF President’s views are at odds with many farmers and environment groups who fear that CSG development will cause irreparable damage to valuable farmland and water resources. The Victorian Farmers’ Federation wants the Victorian Government to grant farmers the right of veto over mining activity on their land.
Premier Napthine has already ruled this out.
The chief operating officer of the APPEA said that agriculture and gas production are working “side by side” despite “misinformation” from “professional protesters intent on stopping resource production and the growth of jobs and additional income streams for farmers.”
Meanwhile, the Victorian Farmers’ Federation has called for the Renewal Energy Target to be scrapped, describing it as “high cost approach to reducing emissions.”
Environmental groups and farmers seeking to have wind turbines on their farms have criticised the VFF. Hosting wind turbines generates a return of $10, 000 per year for each turbine. Many farmers are keen to have this extra drought-proof source of income.
The reduction or scrapping of the Renewable Energy Target benefits the owners of coal-fired power stations and the coal mining companies that supply them.
Farmers should be asking themselves why their representatives in the VFF and NFF are siding with mining companies. Whose interests are they really representing?Farmers need to get rid of misleaders and ally themselves with the working class. A true alliance of workers and farmers would be an important step in ridding Australia of imperialism and building an independent Australia.