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Media Release: Caroona Coal Decision Welcome; but NSW Government Must Rule out Shenhua, Deliver Permanent Protection

Lock the Gate has congratulated the NSW Government on acting to buy-back the BHP Caroona coal licence on the Liverpool Plains, but called for an equally firm commitment to stop the Shenhua coal mine and to deliver permanent protection for important agricultural lands like the Liverpool Plains.

“This is an incredibly important decision by the NSW Government to buy-back the Caroona coal licence, and we warmly congratulate them on having acted constructively to end this dangerous proposal” said Phil Laird, spokesperson for Lock the Gate Alliance.

“We’d also like to congratulate the local community who has never given up the fight to protect the fine food-producing lands and water resources of the Liverpool Plains against the risky BHP mining plan.

“Their 10-year long struggle has cost them dearly, but they have been vindicated today for their courage and their persistence.

“However, we are concerned that the statement by the NSW Government appears to fall short of stopping the Shenhua coal mine, and fails to provide clarity to the local community of Breeza about the future of that project.

“A small excise of parts of the Shenhua exploration licence, as foreshadowed in Government media statements, whilst still allowing the coal mine to proceed, will not protect the Liverpool Plains.

“Therefore, we are also calling for a clear and categorical statement from the NSW Government that the Shenhua coal mine will not go ahead, so that the community can get on with their lives.

“It’s also crucial that the mine by mine, gasfield by gasfield, ad hoc planning processes that puts community after community under threat, is finally over-hauled, and that the NSW Government acts to create upfront protections for important agricultural land and water resources across the state.

“Other farming communities in Bylong and the Southern Highlands are still facing an endless battle to survive against invading mining companies and it is long past time that the NSW Government delivers structural reform to prevent this happening.

“Clear and permanent no-go zones for coal and CSG on the Liverpool Plains and other food-producing areas is a must to ensure that a new mining company doesn’t just replace BHP on the Plains, and that more and more communities and food-producing lands are not put at risk” he said.

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