Rural community groups along the Hunter coal chain have welcomed today's news that the controversial T4 coal terminal project in Newcastle has been shelved for at least two years, perhaps permanently.
"The T4 coal terminal project has been a profound threat to our entire region," said Steve Phillips, Hunter co-ordinator for the Lock the Gate Alliance.
"About 15 large open cut coal mines would be required to supply T4. Throughout the Hunter Valley and Liverpool Plains, agricultural land, water resources, and remnant bushland have been under extreme pressure as the coal industry rapidly expands. With T4 on ice, that pressure is eased, and our region is a little bit safer. This is very welcome news for rural communities along the Hunter coal chain," said Phillips.
John Kaye, from Keep Denman Coal Mine Free, said: "Coal mine proposals are threatening Denman from every direction, and many people in our community have had a gut full. We are already impacted by nearby coal mines, and we don't want any more. The T4 project would facilitate a massive proliferation of coal mining. We are very glad to see it shelved."
Phil Laird, from the Maules Creek Community Council, said: "The rich black soils of the Liverpool Plains are a national treasure, an irreplaceable food bowl. This priceless asset is under threat as mining companies descend on our region, with plans for huge open cut coal mines to supply the Newcastle coal loaders. With T4 shelved, that pressure has been turned down a notch, and communities in the Gunnedah Basin will welcome this news."
Bev Smiles, from the Hunter Communities Network, also welcomed the news. "Hunter communities are struggling under the pressure of coal mine expansion. Our waterways are being polluted, and our kids are breathing in dirty air from the coal mines. We are already facing a crisis, and the last thing we need is for the coal industry to triple in size. We are very glad to see T4 put on the back burner, and we call on the coal industry to permanently cancel the project."