Water, democracy threatened by Wallarah 2 coal project

Published: April 02, 2014

The proposed Wallarah 2 coal mine will pollute Wyong's drinking water supply and is opposed by the local community, according to the Lock The Gate Alliance.

Lock The Gate will argue its case against the proposed long-wall mine to the NSW Planning Assessment Commission, which will hold a public hearing into Wallarah 2 today (April 2nd)  at the Wyong Golf Club.

“It is indisputable that the Wallarah 2 coal project will damage Wyong's water supply,” said Steve Phillips, who will speak at the hearing for the Lock The Gate Alliance.  “Even the mining company agrees, the only question is by how much?”

“The Central Coast Water Corporation has advised the government that Wyong's water supply is highly dependent on water from the Jilliby Jilliby Creek – which runs through the middle of the proposed mine area – and that any risks to this water will have significant consequences for the community. “

“A slew of government agencies have underscored the risk Wallarah 2 poses to waterways and the Wyong community. These include Wyong Council, the Environment Protection Authority, the Office of Water, NSW Fisheries, and the Catchment Management Authority.  The Office of Environment and Heritage has recommended that mining should be prohibited beneath the creeks in the area.”

“But in the face of this avalanche of evidence that Wallarah 2 will pollute Wyong's water, and put the community at risk, the Planning Department has done its usual trick and recommended the mine be approved. It has accepted at face value everything the mining company has said, and it has downplayed, rejected, or ignored the advice of just about everyone else. The Department is apparently quite willing to sacrifice the drinking water of 300,000 people for the sake of a coal mine that is unwanted by the local community, and from which most of the profits will flow overseas.”

“Before the last election, Barry O'Farrell and Chris Hartcher stood in front of Wyong's voters and promised this mine would never go ahead under a Liberal Government. Now that they are in Government, Chris Hartcher is under investigation for alleged corruption, and the Premier is washing his hands of the entire shady affair, hiding behind the biased planning process and refusing to act to protect Wyong's water supply.”

Lock The Gate will urge the Commission to recommend against Wallarah 2. After the Commission makes its findings, the project will go back the Planning Department for a second recommendation, before a different Planning Assessment Commission makes the final determination.

A public rally against Wallarah 2, organised by Australian Coal Alliance, will begin at 9am outside the Wyong Golf Club. The PAC hearing is scheduled to begin at 9:30am and will go all day.

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