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Watercourses and discourses: Coalmining in the Upper Hunter Valley, New South Wales

Connor, L., Higginbotham, N., Freeman, S. and Albrecht, G. (2013) Watercourses and discourses: Coalmining in the Upper Hunter Valley, New South Wales. Oceania, 78 (1). pp. 76-90.

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Water is a resource that both unites and divides people in the Upper Hunter Valley of New South Wales, where many communities are facing the prospect of large-scale open-cut coalmining developments on productive mixed use land, or already live in proximity to mines and power stations. This article analyses conflicts over a proposed coal mine at Bickham in the Upper Hunter Valley, by contrasting the various protagonists' discourses of water scarcity, supply, and connectivity. It examines the ways in which the terms of opposition are narrowed to the arena of state and industry supported science and economic development, marginalising other cultural values and environmental ethics that are integral to opponents' discourses. Opponents have achieved some measure of success through contestation of the uncertain science of hydrological modelling, bolstered by the context of drought and increasing public acceptance of climate change science.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Oceania Publications
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