A resolution passed by the Synod in April 2013 to call upon the NSW Government to protect important agricultural and conversation land and irreplaceable water resources from coal and coal seam gas exploration and mining. The proposal was an initiative of the New England North West Presbytery.
This resolution was passed by consensus.
That the Synod:
call on the NSW Government to amend the NSW Strategic Regional Land Use Plan so that it identifies and protects from coal mining and Coal Seam Gas exploration and mining:
(a) areas which should be kept strictly for sustainable agriculture and food production;
(b) irreplaceable water resources including underground aquifers; and
(c) high conservation value areas including forests and wilderness areas.
The NSW government has moved recently to protect certain areas including residential areas, wineries and horse studs from CSG exploration and mining. However, valuable farm land, forests and aquifers in the New England and North West remain unprotected from CSG and coal mining threats.
These agricultural areas and aquifers will be irreplaceable if damaged, and the long term economic cost to NSW, Australia and the world will far outweigh the short term benefits derived from coal and CSG. For generations, farmers of our district have produced food for the wider Australian and international communities. They have adapted their practices to ensure that future families can also live from and with the land. With a growing world population, we believe it is important to protect land that has a history of sustainable food production and which has provided homes and livelihoods for farmers and their employees for generations. As a church we should stand in solidarity with those farmers who fear for their security, health and future way of life at this time.
Similarly, valuable forest and conservation areas, which include the habitats of some rare and endangered species are at risk of irrevocable damage. Caring for creation is a strong part of Christian tradition. We are called to be wise stewards of the earth. In terms of our fragile planet, we are facing an ecological crisis. Respect for nature and ecological responsibility are key parts of our faith.