Minister Stokes: give us back our legal rights

Published: May 20, 2016

nb.jpgThe community of Bulga has been done-over by an unfair system. Let's tell NSW Mining Minister Rob Stokes to fix it up. 

The community of Bulga in the NSW Hunter Valley has fought for over six years to protect their village from the Warkworth coal mine. They won two court cases against the project, only to have their victories cruelly snatched away by an unfair and unjust NSW mine assessment system which is designed for just one thing: approving coal mines.

This week, the people of Bulga received devastating news: they have no more legal options to stop the mine.

Why? Because the system is broken. The rules are rigged against them. When the NSW Government approved the Warkworth coal mine for the second time, they removed the legal right for anyone to challenge the merits of the approval in court. This is how all coal mine approvals happen in NSW now: the government's decision is final, now matter how bad it is, and there is no recourse to justice for anyone who's life – or entire community – has been ruined. It is deeply unjust.

This must never happen again. NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes has the power to restore merits appeal rights for communities done over by coal mine approvals. It's too late for Bulga, but there are communities in NSW right now who need this basic legal right, for coal mines that are right now careening towards approval. And Mr Stokes can give it to them with the stroke of a pen.

Please make a phone call, and send a message to Minister Stokes. Tell him you are outraged at the way the people of Bulga have been treated. Tell him he must intervene to stop this ever happening again. 

Phone: (02) 8574 6707

Send a message: via his online contact form.

Points you may wish to make:

  • I am outraged at the way the people of Bulga have been treated by the NSW Government.
  • The Warkworth coal mine expansion should never have been approved. This was proven in two courts of law.
  • Without legal merits appeal rights, communities like Bulga have no recourse to justice when a coal mine is approved, now matter how bad that decision is. 
  • The ICAC has previously said that merits appeal rights need to be restored to help prevent corruption. When a government decision cannot be reviewed by the court, there is no incentive to do the right thing. 
  • You must restore third-party merits appeal rights for coal mine approvals in NSW.
  • Right now, the communities of Bylong and Wollar are facing potentially devastating coal mine approvals in their backyards - the Bylong Coal Project, and the Wilpinjong Extension Project. You must ensure that third-party merits appeal rights are retained for these projects, and every coal mine approval in NSW from now on.
  • It is fundamentally unjust to deny communities the right to appeal coal mine approvals.

Showing 4 reactions

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  • followed this page 2016-08-21 20:50:10 +1000
  • commented 2016-05-23 18:32:55 +1000
    All that time and effort, and then the sweet victory by people of Bulga against Rio Tinto – a real David and Goliath story. THEN, the NSW govt changes the rules to suit Rio Tinto & others. What an act of supreme bastardry which not only denies justice, but betrays the contempt the government has for the people whom they are supposed to represent. What a supreme farce.
  • commented 2016-05-22 21:48:16 +1000
    A government that would deny a community due process retrospectively doesn’t deserve to govern.
  • commented 2016-05-21 07:17:53 +1000
    Absolutely, I will be doing everything to stop this. It is devastating and totally undemocratic. Bullying tactics.


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