Hunter Valley thoroughbred breeders are again warning that mining is threatening some of the most productive land in New South Wales.
Local horse studs are citing strong results from this year's Easter Yearling sale, securing record-breaking prices, shows the industry deserves more recognition.
In a recent Australian Mining interview, Nationals federal candidate Michael Johnsen said in a relatively small area there are three strong industries attempting to cohabitate and compete for land.
“Scone and the Upper Hunter is the horse capital of Australia, second only to Kentucky in the world in terms of concentration of thoroughbred breeding, there are billions of dollars in that industry,” Johnsen explained.
Balancing the needs of the wine, horse, and mining sectors as well as maintaining the environment and managing the needs of local residents poses a real challenge, one which Johnsen said is tough.
Around three quarters of the horses at this year's sales were bred in the Hunter Valley, ABC reported.
The Vinery Stud's General Manager, Peter Orton, argued that the importance of mining is being over-emphasised.
"The thoroughbred industry is treated so poorly, and it’s such a massive industry," he said.
"Coal mining has been given priority in one of the richest rural tracts in Australia.
"Forget the horse studs, lets talk about some of the best rural land in Australia that has been sterilised through mining, purely because of not good management.
"Orton added that recent ICAC investigations have only elevated his concerns for the way the mining industry has been handled.
"What's gone on with the whole ICAC investigation, people are realising what a farce the whole thing's been," he said.
"The yapping we've been doing does have some merit, and we're not just being selfish about our own backyard.
"It's just trying to let everyone know how this has been managed.
"It’s been managed so poorly, and one the richest resources we have as a community and population has just been threatened and sterilised."