- Protect our land and water from mining.
- Honesty and integrity in politics
- Local jobs
- People before profits
- Improved heath and education services.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Letter to the Editor: Our health is in the hands of our Pollies

Nymboida River before pollution. Keep it this way
Most of us put our health up there as pretty important. We expect our government to maintain decent health services. We expect our nurses and doctors to do the best for us and our children. We could quite easily “undermine” and poison these efforts when we vote next Saturday.

The health effects of antimony mining has already shown itself in the last 6 months, with serious contamination of the Macleay and its tributaries, from Hillgrove to the ocean. With a huge new open-cut Chinese antimony mine ready to be approved for the Nymboida River, we have a clear choice at the pooling booth to either protect or threaten our health. Do we want poisonous heavy metal pollution in our waterways, threatening fish stocks and town drinking water?

Labor has decided (after years of indifference) to study the problem. The Nationals have taken a “balanced” stance where we can perhaps have clean drinking water most of the time, and poison ourselves when accidents inevitably happen with the storage ponds. The Greens instead have already put a motion to the NSW Upper House to deny approval for the mine, at least until a Land Use Plan has been developed for the Mid North Coast. The Liberal-National Coalition opposed this motion, and indeed the State Government says that such a plan is a “low priority”. So we are destined to see a hole, measuring 1.5 kilometre by 0.5 kilometre, opened up to extract and process a poisonous combination of sulphur and heavy metals, with a tailings dam perhaps many times the size of the Hillgrove version that recently overflowed 900,000 litres into the river system. This new one ultimately connects through the Nymboida to the Shannon Creek and Karangi dams and thence to the taps of Coffs residents.

A clean water supply is a privilege in this country. Its hard to see an issue that is more important this time around. For all the talk about the “radical” Greens, safeguarding our water seems a whole lot more rational than pussy-footing with “development” that could be very, very expensive to our river, our fish stocks, our environment and our very health.

...... (Dr) Paul Bryce, Bellingen

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