The Hunter Central Rivers Alliance of over forty community groups has called on the Baird Government to terminate the Wallarah 2 coal mine project in Wyong's drinking water catchment, as the latest round of public consultation on the project ends today.
The proposed longwall coal mine by Korean state-owned resources company Kores has been the subject of a thirteen-year long stoush in Wyong shire. Both major political parties have at various stages pledged to stop the project, but it is now before Planning Minister Rob Stokes, awaiting his approval.
The latest amendment to the project – construction of a coal conveyor, rail loop, and train loading facility in suburban residential areas at Blue Haven – has been designed specifically to avoid using land owned by Darkinjung Aboriginal Land Council, which remains staunchly opposed to the Wallarah 2 project.
The mine continues to be opposed by local residents, local councils, the Central Coast Water Corporation, and the member for Wyong, David Harris.
“What do we have to do to get rid of this coal mine project?” asked Mike Campbell, a Hunter and Central Rivers Alliance member and Wyong shire resident that has fought Wallarah 2 for over a decade.
“Local residents don't want it, the councils don't want it, the water corporation doesn't want it, the land council doesn't want it, and both political parties have promised us they will stop it!”
“The Korean Government doesn't even seem to want it,” said Mr Campbell, referring to recent reports from Seoul that the government would withdraw its interests from international coal projects, “And the thermal coal market certainly doesn't need it,” he added.
“Yet the mine is now barrelling towards approval by the Baird Government. It doesn't make any sense. We call on Mike Baird to kill this project off right now, before it goes any further. The residents of Wyong Shire have suffered enough. It's time to put all the promises into action. Let's end this.”
“Wallarah 2 is one of those projects that shows us how broken and unfair the mine approval system is in NSW,” said Steve Phillips, convenor of the Alliance which met in Singleton over the weekend.
“Nobody wants this mine to go ahead and yet the Government seems unable to bring itself to just say 'no.' The planning system has no law to protect drinking water catchments from coal mines, and designed to allow coal mines approved no matter what the impacts, no matter how much local opposition there is.”
“The Coalition government has been promising to fix the mining approval regime since it was first elected back in 2012, but we are still waiting,” said Phillips.
“Communities need the Government to make laws to protect places that are too special to whack a coal mine in. The drinking water catchment of 150,000 Wyong residents is certainly more important than a coal mine. ”
“Come on Mike Baird, give the people of Wyong what they've been promised by governments for nearly a decade now: put an end to the Wallarah 2 coal project and protect drinking water catchments from undermining by coal.”