The Hunter Valley Protection Alliance (HVPA) and Hunter Valley Wine Country businesses and organisations have joined forces to launch #NoNewMinesInOurVines – a campaign opposing the establishment of new coal mining operations in the heart of the Hunter Valley wine tourism region.
The campaign has been launched in direct response to two Exploration Lease (EL) applications lodged by Chinese-owned coal producer Yancoal that are before the NSW Government for review.
The ELs are for sites located between the two prime winegrowing regions of Pokolbin and Broke-Fordwich, adjacent to the Pokolbin State Forest.
HVPA and its supporters are not against mining but believe any new coal mining operations within Hunter Valley Wine Country would result in longlasting, irreparable damage to the region’s thriving wine tourism and accommodation industries, key cultural sites and the environment.
Sally Scarborough, national sales and marketing manager at Scarborough Wine Co and spokesperson for the campaign says, “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 not opposed to mining in general, however cannot support new mining operations within Hunter Valley Wine Country that will negatively affect these thriving and economically sustainable industries.
“Further to this, the proposed new mines would result in environmental damage, impact prime viticultural land, and ultimately have negative consequences on our region’s future economy.
“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 Australian Government has done for the Barossa Valley, and Western Australian Government has for the Margaret River wine region.”
Undertaken with the support of the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association (HVWTA), the survey will gather public sentiment on the issue, the results from which will be shared with the NSW Government.
The comprehensive Monash Coal Exploration Lease Renewal Submission undertaken by Insite Planning Services and Edge Land Planning,bwhich highlights the significant negative economic and environmental impacts that will result from new mines being established within Hunter Valley Wine Country has also been presented to NSW government officials.
Hunter Valley Wine Country is the region’s premier tourist destination, and one of the most visited wine regions in Australia.
The highly sustainable viticulture and wine tourism industry has been thriving in Hunter Valley Wine Country for over 200 years and has the potential to continue for hundreds more if the necessary protection legislation is put in place by the NSW Government.
Photo: Chris Tyrrell (by Chris Elfes).