AUSTRALIA, Liverpool Plains: Protesting farmers form a line in front of their tractors in Breeza on August 21, 2015 to protest Shenhua's plans to build a coal mine. The $1.2 billion Watermark coal mine, to be built by the Chinese state-owned company, was given Federal approval in early July of this year, causing controversy (AAP Image/NEWZULU/KATE AUSBURN). NO ARCHIVING, CROWD SOURCED CONTENT, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
AUSTRALIA, Liverpool Plains: Protesting farmers form a line in front of their tractors in Breeza on August 21, 2015 to protest Shenhua's plans to build a coal mine. The $1.2 billion Watermark coal mine, to be built by the Chinese state-owned company, was given Federal approval in early July of this year, causing controversy (AAP Image/NEWZULU/KATE AUSBURN). NO ARCHIVING, CROWD SOURCED CONTENT, EDITORIAL USE ONLY KATE AUSBURN

Nationals leader accused of betraying country people

THE Leader of the Nationals, Troy Grant, is using his position as Police Minister to betray country people and particularly farmers. Mr Grant is the driving force behind new laws that crack down on farmers protesting coal seam gas and coal mining.

Farmers and other people taking action to protect good agricultural land and water resources are true Aussie patriots, not criminals - and they will not be intimidated by Mr Grant's threats of seven years jail for disrupting any mining or gas related activity, or 1000% increases in fines for trespass.

Mr Grant needs to understand this is Australia, not Vladimir Putin's Russia. Australians have a right to free expression and peaceful protest action.

If the Shenhua Watermark coal mine goes ahead on the Liverpool Plains, will Troy Grant instruct the NSW Police to arrest farmers trying to protect their land and water? Does he want to see them sentenced to seven years' jail?

Mr Grant needs to understand that we need a political solution to land use conflict in NSW. It is clear that the vast majority of people want good farmland and water resources protected from coal mining and coal seam gas. The government should respect that opinion rather than turn the NSW Police into a private security force for unwanted industries.

The fact that the President of the National Party was a lobbyist for the Shenhua mine, which Barnaby Joyce has been too useless to stop, and now Troy Grant is pushing laws and threatening farmers with years of jail shows the National Party has lost its way.

It's a shame Troy Grant spends more time at the ballet and the races, than he does representing farmers and regional NSW. He's allowing regional councils to be wiped out through undemocratic forced amalgamations; he's gutted Landcare and TAFE; and is sitting idly by as Mike Baird blows billions on inner city motorways while our regional rail network is stuck in the 18 Century. The National Party has lost its way.

Jeremy Buckingham,

Greens Agriculture and Mining Spokesperson



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