MINING TIRADE

By on July 15, 2004

Max Hedt
Tuesday, 20 January 2004


SIR: YET another tirade against the Iluka Resources sand mine has appeared in your letters column.
It was, as usual, just a repeat of the Greenies’ mantra `the black cockies are bereft’, `the trees are leaving the district’ and `the environment is ruined, again!’
Perhaps I can put a different aspect forward, an aspect which is never admitted by the Greens and is never discussed by the compliant media who publish any line of drivel promulgated by the Greens, without challenge.

As a small boy, 60 years ago, during our holidays in Melbourne I used to sit on the gatepost at my grandparents’ place in Doncaster and watch the occasional traffic go past on Doncaster Road.
A couple of miles to the east, past the apple orchards, at the end of Doncaster Road, the densely timbered Dandenong Ranges rose in all their splendour.
Now, when I stand in the same place and look in the same direction, all I can see is an unending vista of drab brick houses, concrete buildings and ceaseless traffic for as far as the eye can see. The magnificent trees on the ranges are gone. Destroyed in the name of development.
My grandfather also had a holiday house at Rosebud, a couple of hundred yards from the beach. Around it were some fishermen’s houses and beyond them were miles of the low heath and scrub of the Mornington Peninsula.
Most of this is also gone.
Greater Melbourne is roughly 80 kilometres across and about 100 kilometres north to south. It covers some 8800 square kilometres, and this does not include the Bacchus Marshes, Werribees and Geelongs around it.
Perhaps three-quarters of this enormous area is almost covered with bitumen, concrete, bricks and steel. Its native plants, animals and trees are nearly all gone, replaced by foreign, introduced trees, shrubs, grasses, animals and birds.
Each year many more square kilometres of native forest, scrub, heath and grasslands are cleared and destroyed to make way for even more houses and development.
Yet, rarely, if ever, do we hear the Green movement raising their voices in protest at this destruction. They, and their fellow travellers in Victoria’s government and bureaucracy, save their venom and bile for the miners and farmers of Australia.
Iluka Resources will take decades to mine the area that an expanding Melbourne destroys in a single year. And yet, unlike the cities, the mined areas can and will be environmentally rehabilitated in a few short years.
And if we took the combined operational areas of all the mines in Australia, we could fit them inside the greater Melbourne area.
Draw your own conclusions about the Greens’ vitriol against the miners.
Based on Bureau of Statistics figures, the mines, farms and rural industries of Australia earn about 70 per cent of Australia’s foreign exchange income. The 17 million people in the big cities generate only about 30 per cent of Australia’s total foreign exchange income.
But they probably spend more than three-quarters of that total income on imported goods to keep themselves in the comfortable manner to which they have become accustomed.
These figures show that the cities are totally unable to support themselves.
Without mining and rural industries and their foreign exchange earnings, and their massive subsidy to the big cities, there would an economic collapse in the cities that would make the Great Depression of the 1930s look like a Christmas party.
Will the Greens and their fellow travellers in the government and bureaucracy ever admit this? Somehow I doubt it. Their anti-rural and anti-mining ideological bias will prevent them from ever doing so.
As my mother use to say: ``There is none so blind as those who do not wish to see.”

About Gavin Moreira

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