Opal is as Australian as snags on a barbie and a good pavlova, so why is the NSW Government taking a backwards step and ignoring the needs of our community?
There are so many great people behind opal: miners, merchants, tourist operators and entrepreneurs and they all embody the one thing we hold dear - the great Australian spirit of “having a go”.
The NSW Government is doing nothing to improve the lives of the community - miners and graziers alike. They have taken away the infrastructure levies - so there is no more money to rehabilitate the land after mining and establish and maintain access tracks. Some graziers are not happy with the current compensation offers - so they are restricting access to miners and trying to limit the amount of time miners can mine for. On top of this the NSW Government are charging the miners even more to mine in security deposits and administration fees.
It seems this is all about the money the Government isn’t getting from opal mining because we are small. However small miners are the only ones willing to risk resources to prospect and mine for opal with no guarantee of finding an economic deposit as no one can predict how or where opal may occur. Who are the government to take away our rights as Australians to earn a living and live the lifestyle we choose. Is it really only about the large mining companies that generate them a lot of revenue? Has Australia become the place only of big business?
We hope not and that is why we are asking all of you who care about the little guy - whether you are Australian or an opal lover and buyer around the world, to sign this petition and make yourself heard.
For more information about Lightning Ridge and opal and small scale mining, head to our website at www.lrma.com.au
I am imploring your government to take urgent action to ensure the survival of the black opal industry and Lightning Ridge.
97% of the worlds black opal is found in Lightning Ridge and represents a small but important export for Australia. The opal industry supports a vibrant outback community of opal miners, business and tourist operators and graziers alike.
The district will lose everything if the NSW Government does not take action to ensure the opal fields survival through actively resolving outstanding issues such as compensation for landholders, access, reintroduction of valuable infrastructure levies, reinstatement of affordable security deposits and most importantly no introduction of any form of a sunset clause on opal mining.
The entrepreneurial spirit that built Australia is embodied in the opal industry. Self employed miners, irrespective of cultural background or education level can work hard to build a unique life for themselves and their families.
More than just the community of Lightning Ridge is at stake. Opal wholesalers, jewellery manufacturers, retailers and lovers of opal all over the world are dependent on a secure supply of the world’s most spectacular gemstone.