Alan Jones: Coal Seam Gas Address

Even if you hate Alan Jones, just watch this video and be shocked at the scale of the coal seam gas invasion in Australia. Transcript highlights are below, along with some pictures of effected farmers.

Who would have thought that in 2012 Australian farmers would have to fight for property rights?

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Address to the National Press Club
Alan Jones, Food Security and the Protection of the Australian Way of Life:

"... without seeking the permission of the Australian community at either an election or a referendum, our politicians are turning some of our best land into a quarry and a worthless lunar moonscape.

The Great Artesian Basin and our underground aquifers are being risked for the next 200 years by fraccing and the use of toxic chemicals.

Scientists admit that nobody fully understands the complex interconnectivity of these systems or how they really work...

We have governments that are dumb enough to give coal seam gas and coal mining companies the right to plunder our best agricultural land and, as well, extract half as much water out of the Great Artesian Basin as we know we can sustainably use.

And, on top of all of this, we are allowing some of our best agricultural land to be sold to foreign interests.

Twice in the last month, the former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has spoken on the issue of global food security...

The irony is that both Mr. Rudd and Dr. Emerson represent Queensland electorates.

In nothing that they said did they make any reference to the fact that Queensland is allowing mining interests to plunder the very land that could guarantee our food security or, in Dr. Emerson's words, guarantee a massive opportunity for Asia...

Yet the amount of Australian land dedicated to agriculture has fallen by 20% since 1976.

Since 1976, farmers have abandoned more than 100 million acres of land.

Fed up, they sell to government.

Or overseas interests.

Or mining companies.

Or they are bamboozled by mining companies and sell.

Our agricultural heritage is progressively being eroded.

Let me begin by saying I'm not opposed to coal mining or coal seam gas mining....

This is not just a battle about mining prime farm land, or destroying fresh water, or covering our land with salt.

This is about something far more damaging and dangerous – the loss of our rights as Australian citizens, the loss of the basic freedoms we have always taken for granted.

The State and Federal governments have conspired to remove our rights over the ownership of our land.

They have deliberately conspired to bully, to abuse and to force Australians into court if they don't comply with the demands of foreign owned multi-national mining companies.

In fact they issue special manuals on how our Australian farmers must behave in their negotiations with mining companies...

... what coal seam gas and open cut coal mining are making into industrial zones now, in 30 years' time, will be industrial wastelands.

Read the Darling Downs, the Liverpool Plains, the Gloucester and Stroud Valleys, the Fitzroy Basin, Felton Valley, Bacchus Marsh.

And have a look at the beautiful Wellcamp on the edge of Toowoomba, destined for an industrial zone.

And mining of course.

You name it.

And I say over and over again, have a look at open cut mining.

Take a helicopter across the Hunter Valley.

That land was supposed to be rehabilitated.

It can't be.

It's like a crater of the moon.

Following the public meeting in Gunnedah last week, the second of its kind by angry farmers, the Sydney Morning Herald editorialised, "Decisions to exploit energy resources must not be made prematurely so that they pre-empt the decision to protect the best agricultural land in a continent where it is in short supply. ...there should be no hurry...there is reason to believe that Australia already has too many coal seam gas projects being developed all at once. It’s time to pause. The gas does not degrade if it stays in the ground. There is plenty of time to devise a course of action which balances all interests."

I'm not talking melodrama here, I'm talking reality.

I have seen elderly farmers pushed off their farms by New Hope Coal and paid so little for their land that they are forced to live out their last winters as paupers...

And they are too afraid to talk to the media, because they were forced to sign a confidentiality agreement.

They are the victims of legalised theft.

There are children living in coal seam gas regions who have constant headaches, nose bleeds and rashes.

Children living next to open cut coal mines who have constant headaches, nose bleeds and rashes.

Their parents take them to the doctor – they are too afraid to talk to the media because they were forced to sign a confidentiality agreement.

How does a farmer manage.

They are bullied and bamboozled out of their own farms by big gas companies who just move in on them.

Good, decent Australian women who don't even have the basic Australian right to hang their washing out in the sun because their entire town is covered in coal dust...

Supplies should be sought from remote areas where conflicts with the existing patterns of settlement and land use will be minimal.

When these issues were raised at Oakey earlier this year on the Darling Downs, and then at Gunnedah last week on the Liverpool Plains of New South Wales, they highlighted that we are witnessing the biggest land use issue since native title.

They want to protect their land from take over.

Farmers are making simple points.

They want to protect their land from intrusion.

When Michael Caton argued in the movie, "The Castle", that a man's home was his castle, we thought it was a comedy.

Now it is a tragic and sad reality, when farmers at law have no right to stop mining interests entering their property.

Well, they may have no right at law, but they are now being told to lock the gate and let no-one in.

Drew Hutton, known to me for years, has formed the "Lock the Gate Alliance".

It is now a national movement.

It's big.

And it's fair dinkum.

Surely farmers would have the support of all Australia in their argument to protect underground water resources.

Surely farmers would have the support of all Australia in their bid to go about producing food and fibre for an exploding global population.

Surely farmers would have the support of all Australians who are serious about protecting our food supplies in the future.

And safeguarding valuable agricultural land.

Make no mistake about it, farmers now are organised and they are calling upon Australians to rally behind them.

You know, I have the hunch that if America was founded on the promise of freedom and democracy, then Australia was founded on the belief of giving everyone a fair go.

Right now it seems we have lost that promise of a fair go.

And we have also lost our right to our basic democracy as well.

And it's probably time that the Australian people stepped up to take it back.

Our politicians have forgotten that they are our servants and not our masters.

They have forgotten that no politician, no politician party and no government has the right to allow the destruction of our land and water, both of which are the truth wealth of our nation...

80% of Queensland is covered by exploration permits. 90% of the Darling Downs is covered by exploration permits.

The Department of Primary Industries map in New South Wales of petroleum title applications, current petroleum titles, gas sites and petroleum bore holes shows that two-thirds of the state is the subject of some kind of petroleum, gas or coal seam application for development.

It is impossible to believe there is a Part 3A planning application process which allows an outfit called Apex Energy to drill next to the Warragamba Dam, Sydney's source of drinking water, and, if that is approved, the drilling will begin in January 2012.

Go down to the Southern Highlands of New South Wales near the beautiful Sutton Forest, the Korean-owned Cockatoo Coal are going to begin drilling 120 holes, and they have advised the 420 land owners in the area that they have plans for a coal exploration test bore on the front and rear borders of Nicole Kidman's Sutton Forest property.

Residents object.

They have no defence.

In Gunnedah, where we were last Wednesday, more than 12 months ago, the Chinese mining giant Shenhua went knocking on farmers' doors and ended up buying 43 properties for Shenhua's Watermark mining project.

They are the biggest mining company in the world.

They paid $167 million.

Coalworks has paid $13.94 million for Kurrumbede, the property where Dorothy Mackellar wrote the poem, "My Country".

When you start turning Dorothy Mackellar's property, or, indeed, R.M. Williams' property at Hodgson Vale near Toowoomba, into slag heaps, surely the nation must wake up.

It's hard to believe that the beautiful area of Casino and Lismore in New South Wales, that produces beef, dairy cattle, sugar cane, nuts and fruit, from rich chocolate coloured soil, Metgasco have an exploration license covering 5,800 square metres...

Can you believe coal seam gas mining rights next to the Warragamba Dam in Sydney and the Somerset Dam in Brisbane.

In the next 10 to 12 years, approval has been given for 30 open cut coal mines on the Darling Downs.

40,000 coal seam gas wells.

80% of Queensland.

90% of the Darling Downs.

What the hell is going on!?

How can you allow 90% of the Darling Downs to be subject to some form of exploration license or other.

Not far from Toowoomba is Felton, a virtual bread basket of Queensland.

It produces 33,000 tonnes per year of summer grain.

10,000 tonnes per year of winter grain.

22.8 million dozen eggs per year.


5,700 tonnes of pork a year.

Amber Energy has a license to explore for coal.

The coal quality is rubbish, so they are going to build a petro-chemical plant.

Slap bang in the middle of one of Queensland's and Australia's greatest food bowls.

Some of the world's finest agricultural land is known as the Golden Triangle in central Queensland.

14 million hectares appropriately named.

88% of it is under an exploration permit for coal, or a mineral development license, or a mineral license.

This is larger than the total land mass of North Korea.

Twice the area of Ireland.

Some of the world's finest agricultural land where there are 724 exploration permits for coal; 429 of them have been granted.

14 million hectares.

What is our agricultural future?

Where is our food security if we either sell our best land to foreign interests, or allow mining interests to plunder it? ...

Don't worry, Anna Bligh says she would take $3.7 billion in royalties.

Well this is a brutal thing to say, but Anna Bligh and the Queensland Treasurer, Andrew Fraser, should be asked to stand aside.

If any General in war deliberately did to their troops what the Premier and the Treasurer in Queensland have done to their people, then they would be court marshalled.

They have put at risk public health, access to uncontaminated water, and the nation's ability to feed itself.

Let me tell you today, farmers are at war and feel they may as well declare it.

And they are saying simply, Anna Bligh, Andrew Fraser, go.

And if the Leader of the Opposition in Queensland, not yet in the Parliament, but hoping to be Premier, doesn't understand the issues, then he can't expect to win the next election.

There are disparate influences at work here that we have not seen before.

It doesn't matter which part of the spectrum you sit politically.

It doesn't matter if you are an environmentalist or a farmer.

What you were yesterday or what you might be tomorrow.

All walks of life in rural communities are ready to mobilise.

They have been working together for months.

They have formed friendships based on a mutual respect for the land.

And those friendships will stand the test of time.

They are fighting government that has no respect for our people or our food security.

They are fighting against companies that are multi-national.

They are fighting because they have been sold out by government and by politicians.

The fight back has begun...

Farmers are saying they are political prisoners.

If they refuse to sell their farms to the mines, they can't find buyers for the land.

If you are next to one of these outfits, your land is worth nothing.

So they can't sell their land, their farms or their homes.

Farmers know that governments are selling out for money to mining companies that are owned by foreign governments such as the Communist Party of China.

They are being sold out to multi-national corporations, who couldn't give a damn about the consequences for us.

We are nothing more than a cheap quarry to them.

And farmers are plaintively asking why have governments turned their backs on farmers, the food producers in their own nation.

Why are they forcing farmers off the land?

Why are farmers being asked to hand over to foreign governments or to big multi-national companies?

Why can't farmers stop these people entering their land?

Why can't farmers protect their beautiful soils?

Why can't farmers protect our precious water?

Why aren't Australians up in arms about all of this?

I was in Gunnedah, and Oakey – at those two big rallies this year, one last week.

Grown men and women in tears because mining companies have torn apart their communities, destroyed friendships, torn apart a tough and proud and self-reliant people....for good.

These people feel, to use Australian language, busted and broke.

... there is no after-life.

Methods of rehabilitating the land have not yet been discovered.

All that is left behind is a wasteland.

And our food security is, by the day, being rankly compromised.

There is a mining train on the nation's tracks.

It's gathering momentum.

It's about to run down and destroy the nation's food security...

Go out to Dalby and you will see what it’s like.

A veritable pin cushion of coal seam gas projects...

Hodgson Vale is not far from Toowoomba.

That was the home of R.M. Williams' property.

He donated the property to the people of the community.

His homestead.

It's just up the hill from Hodgson Vale.

He loved to sit there on the verandah and watch young men play polo.

Well they have test drilled the polo ground at Hodgson Vale.

What next, Bradman Oval? The Chinese are targeting dairy farms in Australia.

And they plan to produce milk here and ship it back to China.

They call it "From paddock to plate":

Buy our paddocks and put our food on their plates.

Farmers have faced it all - drought, flood, fire.

The oil shocks.

Commodity price crashes.

Escalating costs of production.

But farmers have never faced anything like this...

The Bligh government is broke. Well, don't destroy farmers in order to pay the bills...

I repeat, there are likely to be about 30 open cut mines on the Darling Downs over the next 10 to 12 years and strategic cropping land will not stop more than one or two...

... but there has never been a coal mine rejected on environmental grounds in Queensland's history.

Can you imagine with a food crisis looming, 4% of Queensland is already protected land – that is national parks or whatever – yet we will end up with only 1.5% as protected farm land to produce food when we urgently need strategic planning legislation that will protect from mining, good agricultural land and closely settled areas...

In agricultural Australia today, there is pressure, leading to suicide, on farmers.

And they just simply say "I'm going down the back to fix the fence". And they don't come back, they can't handle it. No-one wants to be left as the last man holding out. Mining companies prey on that. No-one wants to be stuck living right next-door to a coal mine.

... if you went out there today, you would see cavernous gaping holes in prime agricultural land 24/7, night and day.

Lights, noise, dust and people trying to survive around all of this.

Houses on properties empty.

No cattle, no stock, no nothing.

Acland with a beautiful polished war memorial - they are going to shift it to Kulpi.

Acland was many times the winner of the Queensland Tidy Towns competition.

But New Hope have ripped the plaques down.

There is no town.

This is a metaphor for Australia....

Vocabulary is inadequate to describe what you see and hear if you go to Acland...

People just shake their heads and wonder how this can go on in modern Australia...

The world needs to hear about the travesty that is Acland, because there are many Aclands...

Miners are equipped with geological knowledge that has enabled them to capitalise the value of the royalty saving and, I'm sorry, rip off and rob the farmer.

I make no apologies for saying it, these farmers are being invaded. This is legalised theft...

Interesting that the Murray River area now has what are called "Murray storages" - dams, and Dartmouth Dam, Hume Dam, Yarrawonga Weir, Torrumbarry Weir are almost 100% full.

Farmers are only allowed 71% of their water allocation.

The miners get everything that they want.

There is no limit on the amount of water available to miners.

No limit on the amount of land that they can clear...

A company called "Dart Energy", is planning to drill for coal seam gas under Sydney.

Their first drilling project is St. Peters.

And if they are allowed to go into production, gas wells will need to be drilled every few kilometres and connected by gas lines.

There are over 13 trillion cubic feet of gas lying under Sydney.

So the gas company is already into urban Sydney...

Surely if you have a process that carries such risk, there has to be a moratorium until we find out the truth.

The whole coal seam gas issue is completely out of control.

Governments in Canberra, Queensland and New South Wales are taking mining companies' money and giving them a license to do whatever they want.

I have spoken to Marian Lloyd-Smith on my radio program.

She's from the National Toxics Network.

She said the network's review of chemicals used by the coal seam gas industry has found that only two out of the 23 most commonly used fraccing chemicals in Australia have been assessed by the National Industrial Chemical Notification and Assessment Scheme.

Surely there has to be a comprehensive hazard assessment carried out for all coal seam gas mining and all chemicals used in the process, including their impact on human health, their impact on air, on ground water, on water courses.

Surely we need a comprehensive health assessment of all chemical releases associated with coal seam gas activities...

... the Gillard government is in possession of a report documenting the risks to our water systems from coal seam gas.

And the government's own National Water Commission is warning of the impact of coal seam gas on water quality.

James Cameron, the Chief Executive of the National Water Commission, said that the burgeoning coal seam gas industry has the potential to deliver significant economic benefits, "But there are also significant potential risks to water and our water management as a result of the scale of the development of the sector."

But government don't seem to care about the risks to water quality, let alone how much water is used in the mining process.

The government is just grabbing revenue.

It is clear that all this is a threat to Australia's agricultural land, yet governments have nothing on their minds but the rivers of royalty.

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association has conceded that coal seam gas extraction will inevitably contaminate aquifers...

This is, to me, the biggest issue facing this country. We are talking about public health...

If this isn't a major issue facing this country, and if this isn't something that galvanises all Australians, including the media and politicians, then I'm simply saying Australia is in for a hell of a lot of trouble down the track..."


Anna Bligh, Barry O'Farrell, Julia Gillard, Tony Burke and Tony Abbott have all betrayed farmers.

File under: legalised theft, political prisoners, busted and broke.


  1. Epic speech man. It's a crime what they're doing to the farmers. Between foreign ownership, free trade and CSG, who'd be a farmer? It's criminal. Sadly it don't look like Campbell Newman is any better than Captain Bligh on CSG.

  2. Looks like Campbell Newman just made a positive move against CSG on prime farm land. We'll have to wait and see how far it goes.