Where mining’s a pariah, thoroughbreds take precedence

In The Australian today: “The Ruler of Dubai can sleep easy. No such luck, however, for 500 workers at a Muswellbrook coalmine. In a recent decision, NSW’s Planning Assessment Commission rejected Anglo American’s proposal to extend the mine’s life because it might harm the Ruler’s Darley thoroughbred stud and the Coolmore stud, located nearby.”

About Henry Ergas

Henry Ergas AO is a columnist for The Australian. From 2009 to 2015 he was Senior Economic Adviser to Deloitte Australia and from 2009 to 2017 was Professor of Infrastructure Economics at the University of Wollongong’s SMART Infrastructure Facility. He joined SMART and Deloitte after working as a consultant economist at NECG, CRA International and Concept Economics. Prior to that, he was an economist at the OECD in Paris from the late 1970s until the early 1990s. At the OECD, he headed the Secretary-General’s Task Force on Structural Adjustment (1984-1987), which concentrated on improving the efficiency of government policies in a wide range of areas, and was subsequently Counsellor for Structural Policy in the Economics Department. He has taught at a range of universities, undertaken a number of government inquiries and served as a Lay Member of the New Zealand High Court. In 2016, he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Where mining’s a pariah, thoroughbreds take precedence

  1. nerblnob

    Exactly how, and to what extent, was it going to harm the horses?

  2. Jonah

    The breeders claim the coal dust has a deleterious effect on bloodstock. Gets in their lungs etc.

  3. .


    What about the outback cattle stations?

  4. johanna

    It’s truly a sign of a decadent society when the interests of a few racehorses and their owners are preferred over a multi-million dollar export industry which provides many skilled jobs.

    That’s assuming that there is evidence that the hayburners would suffer harm, which is, to put it mildly, very thin.

  5. gabrianga

    This is good news for Jones and his “little mates” who want to stop fracking.

  6. Andore Jr

    Follow the money and the power. The VRC alone reaps billions annually, they can pretty much lean on anyone to roll over if it protects the racing industry.

  7. Myrddin Seren

    I am really fired up about this incident – so be ready to scroll on by as I leave some remarks here in Sinc’s rumpus room for posterity.

    A big, big thanks to Dr Ergas for tackling it.


    That’s assuming that there is evidence that the hayburners would suffer harm, which is, to put it mildly, very thin.

    The government, the PAC and the stud advocates are applying the reverse test:

    “There is insufficient evidence” it says, “to conclude that meeting the criteria would not negatively impact on … Coolmore and Darley”.

    Complying with the rules is not enough. Nor is demonstrating that the social benefits from a mine exceed its social costs. The mine’s proponents must also show it will create no risk of harm.

    Over a 20 year potential mine life – provide conclusive evidence that no risk of harm could ever occur. It’s an impossible test and the same one the climateers are using now – ‘prove AGW isn’t occuring and that it won’t be catastrophic in 50 years time – or our hypothesis wins and you are a denialist !’

  8. Myrddin Seren

    Rant 2

    Here is how the Daily Telegraph ‘broke’ the story.


    Note the time stamp – 12:00 am on Oct 21. Online release at midnight – meaning the story was written up well before then the previous day.

    The Tele has a copy of the PAC’s report, has solicited comment from one of the stud managers – and even has a comment from Planning Minister Pru ( The Shrew ) Goward.

    The money quote is :

    the PAC report, to be released today, says.

    At this point in time neither Anglo, as the employer, nor any of their staff at Drayton had been told the investment was wiped out and 500+ jobs were about to be flushed down the toilet – but Pru Goward is cheerfully providing quotes to the Tele on a report her office supposedly hadn’t released yet.

    Thanks NSW Liberal Party for yet again spitting in the face of members of your base in the resources sector.

    ( I had already resigned in disgust from the NSW Liberal Party before this broke, not least because it is so obvious the seat warmers in Macquarie St either don’t care about the resources sector, or actively believe the only people in NSW wearing blue chambray shirts should be mowing their lawns, cleaning their pools and exercising their horses, and not embarrassing their cosmopolitan street cred by engaging in primary industry ).

  9. .

    #1502037, posted on November 3, 2014 at 10:15 am
    It’s truly a sign of a decadent society when the interests of a few racehorses and their owners are preferred over a multi-million dollar export industry which provides many skilled jobs.

    That’s assuming that there is evidence that the hayburners would suffer harm, which is, to put it mildly, very thin.

    I doubt Jones much about actual farming either.

  10. gabrianga

    It “might ” harm?

    The “precautionary principle” is still being adopted by the NSW Government in this day and age ?

    This “principle” has been used by Green and Socialist Left opponents of development to delay or cancel projects which would provide jobs, export revenue and in many cases advantages for Aborigines

    I feel nauseous that a Conservative State Government can adopt such measures over State owned land presumably leased to overseas interests?

  11. Myrddin Seren

    Rant 3

    Here is the Tele’s editorial on the ‘scoop’ above.


    The Tele’s editor is avowedly pro-equine. Fair enough.

    But here is where the editor is obviously disingenuously trawling a cloak for the ‘Resources are too coarse and old-school for NSW – the Latte State’ boosters:

    The PAC decision must now be respected by Anglo American and be seen as a judgment on one mine, not the entire industry.

    Oh – okay – so this is a single enterprise issue ?

    Ms Goward would be well ­advised to review the buffer zones operating in the Hunter which are supposed to protect the thoroughbred and viticultural industries.

    Uh huh – expand the existing buffer zones around the operating mines to redefine their operating boundaries and what do you think happens if economic mine plans are disrupted ? Yup- more mine closures and hooray for the Alan Jones set – who get so upset flying over the Hunter Valley in their helicopters on their way to their Upper Hunter horse studs – too many blue chambray shirts and hi-viz jackets amongst the aspirational working class souring the taste of their chardonnay.

  12. Myrddin Seren

    Last Rant ( for now )

    From the Tele editorial:

    That such a project could ever be proposed in the first place remains a stain on the planning laws that govern land usage in the Hunter

    I would be willing to bet Anglo or the previous owners of Drayton have held state government tenure to explore and assess the Drayton South lease for years – if not decades. And any minerals discovered are the property of the State, for which a licensee has to pay the Crown a royalty to extract.

    The pressure is in fact on explorers to prove it up or surrender the tenure – and they invest money on exploration in good faith.

    If the NSW government is so effete it would now prefer not to take the ‘tainted’ coin of the resource sector, they should recompense the parties who have previously acted in good faith on conditions imposed by that government.

    Of course, as we are seeing with things like the impact of the lock-out laws in potential high value real estate zones like Potts Point, using laws to drive out legitimate but unfavoured businesses like night clubs, to the benefit of the property developers is much cheaper than compensating business for loss of property rights.

    ‘Withdrawing the social license’ seems to be a good excuse to grant politically well-connected interests a free pass in NSW.

  13. Roger


    Let them bet on the horses.

  14. I can see another Capital Flight Era coming up. And not before time.

  15. Major Elvis Newton

    Unlike horses…which can be bred pretty much anywhere, the only place that I can mine for coal is where the bloody stuff is.

    Otherwise I’d mine that thick black seam underneath Christine Milne’s yurt.

    Alan Jones has zero credibility on this issue (and fracking) and flip-flops more than KRudd.

  16. Tel

    Gambling is bad, M’Kay? That’s why the NSW Government looooooooooverss the racing industry, because that bad old gambling tax just makes so much revenue.

    As we say in government, love the sinner’s money, hate the sin. 😉

  17. AP

    Pru Goward’s behaviour has been disgusting. I sincerely hope the 500 families who will spend Christmas with a father or mother unemployed will be OK.

  18. .

    I have heard that farmers from near Lockhart, NSW are actually waiting to be bought out for the new iron ore mine – possibly a veritable capital gain for them.

    Jones is ending the possibility of this for poor farmers where his million dollar stallions are kept.

  19. Infidel Tiger

    Alan Jones is the real Premier of NSW.

    The very first thing I would introduce is a tax on horse breeders – 5% of service fee charge should do it. Him and his smarmy mates have destroyed racing in NSW and have also destroyed our energy production future.

Comments are closed.