Topic: AGL buys Pooles Rock and other land

Social, legal and health issues related to air and water toxic pollution in Australia.

Topic: AGL buys Pooles Rock and other land

Postby HVPA_research » Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:50 pm

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Tags: CSG,NSW, Broke,PoolesRock, DavidClarke,AGL,land,BrianMcGuigan,wine,201110

AGL is buying land near Broke in the Hunter Valley in a mistaken belief that they can demonstrate that coal seam gas and wine growing are compatible. Here are some responses in the media.

Quiet rage is mounting
THERE was no screaming or yelling. No swearing or abuse and certainly no one chaining themselves up to equipment or fencing, not yet anyway.

Sunday’s protest at Broke against coal seam gas mining was one of many across the country.

The event at Broke was controlled. Guest speakers simply stated their experiences with AGL and the coal seam gas industry and comforted those in fear of their future with a promise that they were not alone and would have the support they needed.

It was anger at its controlled best.

The fact that 400 people took the time out of their weekend to meet on the side of a country road should be some indication to both AGL and the government that there is widespread concern about the industry.

People are living with enormous stress and fear for their futures.

The very day after this coming together of the masses, AGL issued a press release to confirm that yes, it had purchased Pooles Rock Vineyard and as rumoured, had also purchased a 2000 ha adjoining property.

Any elation from the previous day’s event would have been shattered by the untimely response from AGL.

Certainly not the way neighbours usually do business in the bush and certainly not the way to win what is clearly becoming one of the greatest battles over landuse this country has seen.
There is money to be made out of coal seam gas (CSG) and where money is concerned questionable behaviour often lurks. David Clarke, deceased owner of Hunter Valley Pooles Rock, was very public about his oppression to CSG mining in the valley. Before the wreaths had wilted his old mate Ian Ferrier (undertaker), along with his loving family, had flogged the vineyard to AGL Energy.

The undertaker was publicly regretful but as a trustee of the estate (very many millions) wittered on about duty to get the best price etc. Besides being mates, the connection between Clarke and the undertaker is Australian Vintage. It transpires another member of the board and no doubt best mate to Clarke (when alive) and the undertaker is the Big Mac (Brian McGuigan) himself. It transpires he is also connected to CSG.

A recent article in The Sunday Telegraph by Jane Hansen (October 9) explains how former NSW premier and Infrastructure NSW chairman Nick Greiner was a director of a company called Setrave, which sold a Hunter Valley vineyard to AGL Energy in 2009. Big Mac is now looking after that vineyard and according to the article produces wine for AGL executives. Hansen quotes Big Mac as saying he felt “like a spy” for both sides, admitting to concerns that gas drilling could compromise the Hunter’s rural nature. “I’m not soft on it,” he said. “But so far everything AGL has done has been exemplary.”

Not soft? It’s not as if he needs the money. He made a multimillion-dollar bundle when he sold out of Australian Vintage and along with the undertaker still retains a board seat. The lessons being: no matter how much dosh one has there is room for more, and if struggling in the wine/grape industry sink a bore and see if there is money to be made from what’s below. It’s also worth considering that “mateship” is akin to the marriage vows: it’s only till death do part.
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