Hunter Valley refugees from coal seam gas mining

More potentional refugees from the coal seam gas invasion in New South Wales.

Coal belt tightens around land and accommodation
ADAM HARVEY, REPORTER: The NSW Hunter Valley. Its rich soil and sheltered river flats are ideal for breeding and raising some very fast horses.

TOM MAGNIER, THOROUGHBRED BREEDER: We've raised a lot of champions on this land, we have Makybe Diva up here at the moment and we have So You Think coming up here in a couple of days. It's housing a lot of champions and raising a lot of champions at the same time.

ADAM HARVEY: This part of the valley is home to two of Australia's famous thoroughbred studs, Dali and Coolmore. There's one problem: they sit above an extremely valuable coal seam, and the miners are coming.

TOM MAGNIER: They want to come 500 metres there. They want to build a pond over there and a place where we're raising our young stock. They want to go underneath that.

ADAM HARVEY: Tom Magnier is worried about pollution and cracks opening up in paddocks that house foals worth millions of dollars. But perhaps his biggest concern is damage to reputation.

A thoroughbred stud encircled by coal mines will have a tough time enticing clients.

He's fighting an uphill battle against the lobbying power against an industry that contributes about $1.8 billion in mining royalties each year to a cash-strapped state.

TOM MAGNIER: It's threatening us, it's threatening our neighbours, it's threatening the Hunter Valley. We're a billion dollar industry. We employ thousands of people. This is a business that is going to be here for generations upon generations and has been here for generations upon generations. I don't see the mining industry being like that...

TOM MAGNIER: I'm really concerned because this farm is surrounded by coal mines and, you know, I moved out here with my family and I've got 135 people living on this farm with their families, young families, kids, you know... the thought that the coal mines can threaten our industry like this, it's gone way too far...
Meanwhile NSW premier Barry O'Farrell and resource minister Peter Hartcher just sit by and watch this injustice unfold all over our state.

And federal leader Julia Gillard, environment minister Tony Burke, and resource minister Martin Ferguson do nothing.

And opposition leader Tony Abbott remains silent.

Will Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young cry in parliament over Tom Magnier's livelihood being destroyed?

Or do these coal seam gas refugees have to get into a boat and paddle into Sydney Harbour to be noticed and worthy of empathy?

File under: legalised theft.

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