Alan Jones and Michael Ball get behind Southern Highlands Cockatoo Coal fight, but still no sign of Nicole Kidman

Alan Jones and Michael Ball get behind Southern Highlands Cockatoo Coal fight, but still no sign of Nicole Kidman
Alan Jones and Michael Ball get behind Southern Highlands Cockatoo Coal fight, but still no sign of Nicole Kidman

Secretive tactics by the POSCO Korean coal mining enterprise have shocked businessman Michael Ball, the vendor of a Southern Highlands property who thought he was selling his land to an agricultural company.

Ball found out the farm sold to shelf company Aurelius Rural Pty Ltd, which actually wanted to establish itself on the beef cattle farm for mining purposes. Wongonbra was marketed by estate agents as arguably the best available large rural landholding in the Southern Highlands.

"Well, clearly it's deceitful because they pretended all the way through the negotiations that they were solely interested in farming – cattle farming," Ball says.

"I expected them to be farmers with the long-term view to cutting it up into hundred-acre blocks as they said they would do," he told Channel 7 reporter Bryan Seymour.

"Because this is our legacy, this is Australia, That's what we must pass on. Australia's long-term future is as a food bowl and as a place for visitors and for residents all of which have been endangered by this type of activity," Ball says. He has given support to the local Southern Highland Coal Action Group.

The retired advertising legend and Liberal Party stalwart thinks Australian politicians have gone “mining mad”.

The blue-ribbon conservative, who chairs the Bradman Foundation, suggests he’s become a radical activist.

Quentin Dempster on the ABC 7.30 Report noted the secretive practice had made the small community “more determined than ever to stop mining”.

The highlands coal sits underneath a water aquifer.

"No one has a clue of the geology of aquifers,” Ball told The Australian.

“Once fractured, there's no possibility for them to be fixed. You can't mine without fracturing the aquifer."

Peter Martin, a neighbour and the convener of the Southern Highland Coal Action Group, says governments are allowing miners to come into some of the best parts of Australia and “ruin them".

It's the latest action in a nationwide public fight against the coal mining industry.

"They're [the coal companies] not going to get there, they think they are and I'm saying to these people you might have a license, it's not worth two bob ‘cause you're going to have to run over the public first," 2GB broadcaster Alan Jones says. He has a home in the highlands, so will lead a weekend rally against the mining encroach.

"If this is the devious way these people are going about things, then the game is up.

“Overseas interests, a stack of them, Korean in particular and Chinese interests, Shen Wah and those companies, are buying prime agricultural land they will desecrate and despoil that land and at the end of thirty years when the license expires we'll be left, or our children will be left with the residue," Jones says.

Property owners fighting coal seam gas mining exploration around precious aquifers of the Southern Highlands have been hoping – to no avail so far – that local rural estate owners Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban will soon join their battle.

Wingecarribee Shire Council also opposes the potential expansion of coal seam gas and new coal mining in the shire.



Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.


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