ORANGE farmers were among an estimated 4000 protesters who took their message about land and water resources to the NSW Government yesterday.
The Protect Our Land and Water rally brought together both environment and farming groups concerned that the government’s draft strategic land use policy fails to completely protect any key areas of the state from mining.
Nationals leader, Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner was jeered as he addressed the crowd, however, Orange district orchardist Guy Gaeta believes the party is on the side of farmers.
“A lot of Nationals backbenchers came out and mixed with the crowd. The way it’s going they will cross the floor,” he said.
Mr Gaeta said state member for Orange Andrew Gee was among those who spoke directly to protesters.
Among the 22 groups involved in the protest was the Country Women’s Association, which has never before taken to the streets in protest in its 90 year history.
Mr Gaeta welcomed the alliance of farming and environmental groups against the draft policy.
“The Greens are changing the way they look towards us and food production. They realise that you just can’t save the planet and starve at the same time,” he said.
The protest was spearheaded by the NSW Farmers’ Association, which has called on the government to honour an election promise to identify areas where mining should not occur.
A draft regional land use plan for the central west is currently being prepared by the government.