Gunnedah Churches weigh in on the mining debate

Share

 

MEDIA RELEASE – Tue 27/11/2012 3.30 PM

THREE GUNNEDAH CHURCH LEADERS CALL FOR PROTECTION OF FARMLAND FROM MINING

Three church leaders in Gunnedah have expressed “grave concern about the impact of some proposed mining activity on productive agricultural land and environmentally significant areas.”

Rev. John Brentnall of the Uniting Church, Fr. Ron Perrett, of the Catholic Church, and Pastor Neville Mammen of the Christian Outreach Centre, have this week issued a joint statement appealing for greater protection for the farmlands and sensitive environments of the Gunnedah and Liverpool Plains area, a statement supported by three of their four church councils.

They emphasise that Christian tradition includes “caring for creation”, and an awareness of humankind’s duty to provide wise stewardship of the earth, pointing out that “respect for nature and ecological responsibility are key parts of our faith.”

They express concern  about the danger that “the proposed coal mines and coal seam gas fields will have an irreversible damaging impact on the soil, water, environment, and people of our region”.  They call for protection of water resources, and for keeping some areas strictly for sustainable agriculture and food production.

This statement is only one of a number of recent expressions of concern by Church leaders in various parts of Australia, about the impact of mining on farmland and natural areas.

The Gunnedah ministers have based their statement on a similar call issued 3 years ago jointly by the Anglican and Catholic Bishops of Toowoomba, and the Uniting Church leader in that area

In September this year, the Anglican Bishop of Gippsland, John McIntayre, expressed doubts about the safety of coal seam gas extraction, and called for the Victorian Government to test the environmental impact of extraction methods.

The Catholic religious women’s order, the Sisters of St. Joseph, have joined other religious congregations in opposing a  rapid increase in coal-seam gas exploration in Australia.  Their Canberra-based Josephite Justice Office has stated that “the rapid increase in licenses for exploration and mining of coal-seam gas has enormous implications for our farmers, farmlands, and rural communities as well as cities such as Sydney” – referring to proposals to mine coal-seam gas in Sydney suburbs such as St. Peters and Roseberry.

 

///////////

TO MEDIA – FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, please contact:

Rev.John Brentnall, Uniting Church – 6742 1404 (m) 0410 650 045

Fr.Ron Perrett ,Catholic Church – 6742 0200, or (m) 0402 246 384

Pastor Neville Mammen ,Christian Outreach Centre -6742 4009  (m) 0427 005 542

Farmer,supporting above statement,who is  concerned re impact of mining on farming in Gunnedah region:

Xavier Martin Mullaley   Fax 6743 7839     (m) 0428 255 736

///////////

FULL STATEMENT ON NEXT PAGE:

 

 

STATEMENT  ISSUED by 3 Gunnedah Church leaders  ON THE MINING-FARMING ISSUE

by Gunnedah Catholic Priest, Fr. Ron Perrett and Liverpool Plains Uniting Church Minister Rev. John Brentnall, also Gunnedah Christian Outreach Pastor Neville Mammen, with the support of the Gunnedah Catholic and Quirindi-Werris Creek Uniting Church Councils and Christian Outreach Centre Church Board (accompanied by an additional statement by Pastor Neville Mammen)


Caring for creation is a strong part of Christian tradition.  We believe that 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.

As communities of faith we stand in solidarity with those farmers who fear for their security and future way of life at this time.  We also understand the contribution of mining and the generation of electricity to economic activity in our region.

We have a particular perspective on development, which centres on the human person, the family and the community.  When we consider future planning or development, our primary question would be – “What is happening to the PEOPLE?”- rather than – “What is happening to the ECONOMY?”.

With a growing population, we believe it is important to protect land that has a history of sustainable food production.

We have concerns that the proposed coal mines and coal seam gas fields will have an irreversible damaging impact on the soil, water, environment and people of our region.  

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.  Our hope is that decisions made on the future use of these areas are based on the common good of all humanity.

We have great concerns about the impact of some proposed mining activity on prime productiveagricultural land and high conservation value forests in our region.

We support calls for aStrategic Regional Land Use Plan to clearly identify areas that could be mined and others, which should be kept strictly for sustainable agriculture and food production and high conservation areas.  We believe it is essential that our water resources are protected.  We also want to see important natural areas placed off-limits to mining.

//////// issued by:       Rev.John Brentnall, Uniting Church – 6742 1404 (m) 0410 650 045 ; Fr. Ron Perrett ,Catholic Church – 6742 0200, (m) 0402 246 384; Pastor Neville Mammen ,Christian Outreach Centre -6742 4009  (m) 0427 005 542