Breeders welcome strategic plan for Hunter Valley

The Thoroughbred Breeders of the Hunter Valley has welcomed the announcement by Minister Tony Kelly that the NSW Government will develop a strategic plan for coal mining in NSW by the end of the year.

Hunter Valley breeders have been calling for a long overdue strategic plan for coal mining in NSW, particularly in the Hunter Valley, for some time.

In a statement released yesterday, Hunter Valley breeders welcomed the initiative and strongly emphasised the importance of developing a sustainable strategic land use plan for the Hunter.

“We welcome Minister Kelly’s recognition of the importance of bringing together the Planning, Infrastructure, Environment, Health and Industry portfolios to develop the strategic plan.

“Industry and the community have a direct interest and should also play an integral part in the development of this strategy.  We look forward to community consultation and to working with the NSW Government to develop a sustainable strategic plan that provides long term certainty and security to sustainable industries in the Hunter Valley.

“This year the nation will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Melbourne Cup.  It is timely to not only recognise the contribution that thoroughbred breeding makes to our racing heritage and culture, to regional, state and national economies and to the hundreds of thousands of people across Australia who are employed or associated with our industry- but to preserve and protect it into the future.

“An understanding of the cumulative economic, social, environmental and health effects of coal mining in the Hunter Valley is essential before decisions on additional mining activity are taken. This is of critical importance to the development of a sustainable strategic plan and to our region’s and industry’s economic and environmental future.

“The Hunter Valley is one of three centres of Thoroughbred Breeding Excellence in the world – alongside Kentucky in the USA and Newmarket in the UK.  It produces approximately half of all thoroughbred horses born in Australia annually and represents 70% (in volume) and 80% to 90% (in value) of Australia’s thoroughbred exports.

“The NSW Government now has an opportunity to get the balance right in the Hunter.  Let’s not waste it.”