A Foley Labor Government would put in place buffer zones around mines to protect the thoroughbred horse industry of the Hunter region. 

As horse stud owners face the prospect of yet another planning inquiry into the Drayton South proposal, Mr Foley said the industry needed certainty.

The Drayton South mine was sold earlier this month to Malabar Coal for an undisclosed price from Anglo American.

The thoroughbred industry has been forced to fight for its survival on a number of occasions seeing off repeated applications for the same project.  The Planning Assessment Commission has rejected proposals to develop the mine on four occasions. 

Speaking at the Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association in Scone last night, Mr Foley said he would deliver certainty to the industry by imposing a minimum distance between them and mining.

He also encouraged Planning Minister Anthony Roberts to amend the existing State Environmental Planning Policy to ensure no further applications are made for the Drayton South project.

While the coal industry will continue to be an important employer and contributor to NSW’s economic prosperity the Hunter Region’s economy must continue to diversify through the growth of the tourism, wine-making and horse-breeding industries.

The Hunter’s thoroughbred industry employs 4,800 people. 

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“Our thoroughbred industry is world’s best practice. It produces champion race horses as good as any in the world.

“The mighty mare Winx, rated the world’s best turf racehorse in the international rankings, was bred, born and raised in the Hunter Valley.

“The industry needs more certainty and Labor has a plan to deliver on that to save the thoroughbred horse industry and keep its thousands of jobs here in NSW. 

“Hunter thoroughbred owners deserve better than the current abuse of the planning process that has seen them fight for their survival on multiple occasions.”