Community groups have slammed the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DoPE) for recommending a new thermal coal mine should proceed on the very same day that the IPCC warned the world needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.
The department has recommended that the destructive, foreign-owned Bylong coal mine near Mudgee can proceed, despite a new assessment identifying state significant heritage values on the site where mining is proposed.
An independent expert report on the heritage values released yesterday by the department concluded that:
- The Bylong Valley generally had state significant heritage values as a scenic landscape on the western side of the World-heritage listed Blue Mountains
- The Tarwyn Park property in particular had state significant heritage values as the site of the first and longest running application of Natural Sequence Farming in Australia,
Despite this report, the DoPE suggested only minor amendments to the mine plan rather than rejecting the mine outright. The proposal will now go to the Independent Planning Commission for a final determination.
“The recommendation to proceed with the Bylong mine shows the NSW Government is completely missing in action on climate change just as the IPCC warns warming beyond 1.5 degrees risks catastrophic heat and disruption” said Lock the Gate spokesperson Carmel Flint.
“Not only will this mine put the climate at risk, but new research shows it will take South Korean mining giant KEPCO one step closer to destroying a magnificent valley with state significant heritage values.
“The Department of Planning and Environment has cherry-picked the expert heritage information and moved only to amend the mine plan slightly, when it’s clear the mine should have been rejected outright.
“Equally worrying is that there is no new information on Aboriginal cultural heritage impacts provided by the department, even though the Independent Planning Commission previously stated that further investigation was needed.
“This mine will only proceed with the backing of the NSW Government, who at every step have allowed it to progress through the planning process despite the obvious and unacceptable risks it poses to farmland, water and heritage.
“We’re calling on the NSW Premier to come and meet local landholders and visit the site as a matter of urgency and then to take firm action to end this dangerous mining proposal” she said.
Quotes from the Hector Abrahams Architects independent report on heritage values:
“Tarwyn Park and its setting are substantial components in the Bylong Scenic Landscape, one of a group of scenic landscapes traversing the Great Dividing Range which are distinctive to the New South Wales landscape. The Bylong Valley is one of the many valleys of different sizes but consistent geology that together form the western side of the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains, and contribute to its scenic values. (State level significance)
Tarwyn Park is the site of the first and longest running application of Natural Sequence Farming in Australia, and is the basis for all subsequent implementations of the technique. As one of a small number of prominent experimental agricultural practices to gain scientific interest and popular appeal since 1938, Tarwyn Park is significant in the history of Australia's technological advancements in agriculture. (State level significance).