A GROUP of local farmers met with Energy and Resources Minister Anthony Roberts in Maitland last Monday to discuss support for the mining industry in the Gloucester valley.
Stroud farmer Rod Williams said the group had travelled to the community cabinet meeting to talk about the extractive resources industry in the valley and the benefits it provided to those living here.
“We wanted to show that there are people that do support mining in the valley as long as it’s done right,” Mr Williams said.
“But I don’t think there’s a person in this valley that can say they are 100 per cent supportive of everything being done by the resources industry.”
Mr Williams said the rise of the extractive resources industry in the valley in the past two decades had provided options where previously there had been none.
“The drought we had in the early 1990s was a pearler. We were completely reliant on timber, dairying and beef. Without the Stratford mine there would have been no other options,” he said.
“Love it or hate it, the mining industry at least provides other options.”
Mr Williams said one of the things the group was particularly concerned about was the growing stigma associated to the Gloucester region because of its mining links.
“I think it’s having a negative effect morale wise,” he said.
“The more we talk the area down the less options we have.”
He was also highly critical of the exhaustive media and social media campaign against the mining industry in Gloucester.
“I think we should deal with our problems locally. Not go out seeking support from other networks, organisations or groups,” he said.
“What are they going to bring back to this community?”