A local campaign calling on the NSW Government to protect Hunter Valley Wine Country from mining was launched last week.
The objective of the #NoNewMinesInOurVines campaign, launched by Hunter Valley Protection Alliance (HVPA) and local Hunter Valley wine country businesses and organisations, is for legislation to be introduced to form a protection 'ring' around the historic wine tourism area.
The 'No Mines in the Vines' campaign comes as a response to two Exploration Lease (EL) applications, lodged by Chinese-owned coal producer Yancoal in the Hunter Valley which are currently before the NSW Government for review.
The lease applications are for sites located between the two prime wine growing regions of Pokolbin and Broke-Fordwich, adjacent to the Pokolbin State Forest.
The Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association (HVWTA) is supporting the campaign, and chief executive Amy Cooper is encouraging people to complete the opinion survey, which would be presented to the State Government.
"Our primary concern is these two leases that Yancoal have lodged with the NSW Government are in our prime wine growing region ... and the risk to the region's thriving wine and tourism industry is really significant," she said.
"Particularly with the community's growing concern around coal mining and environmental impact, so to run the risk of having a mine in our beautiful wine tourism area is a really big concern.
"There's a survey that's designed to consult with both local industry and community as well as visitors to the region to understand what the impact is going to be if this was to go ahead.
"It will give us that information in hand to take to the NSW Government in our call to them to not renew the exploration leases."
"We are not opposed to mining in general, however cannot support new mining operations within Hunter Valley wine country that will negatively affect these thriving and economically sustainable industries," Scarborough Wine Co national sales and marketing manager and campaign spokesperson Sally Scarborough said.
"Local residents, businesses and organisations alike are overwhelmingly behind #NoNewMinesInOurVines due to the collective belief that the operation of mines in the middle of such an important viticulture and tourism cluster would have detrimental consequences to the industries.
"Further to this, the proposed new mines would result in environmental damage, impact prime viticultural land, and ultimately have negative consequences on our region's future economy.
"We are calling on the NSW Government to reject these EL applications and implement protection legislation for this nationally important wine tourism area, just as the South Australian Government has done for the Barossa Valley, and Western Australian Government has for the Margaret River wine region."
To have your say on the campaign's opinion survey, visit nonewminesinourvines.com.au/have-your-say/.
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