Lock the Gate Alliance welcomes the Berejiklian Government’s announcement today that the destructive Shenhua coal mine slated for the Liverpool Plains will not proceed.
“This is a testament to the hard work and never give up attitude of local Traditional Owners, farmers, and other community members who simply refused to accept this monstrous coal mine could be built in such a precious place,” said Lock the Gate Alliance NSW spokesperson Georgina Woods.
“While we would like to see the Berejiklian Government’s sudden desire to protect prime farmland and cultural heritage sites from inappropriate coal mining applied elsewhere in the state where similar battles continue, today is indeed a day for celebration.
“The government must be congratulated for taking this opportunity to end the uncertainty this mine created for the community and protecting this incredibly important area. It’s a very significant step.
“It’s crucial that the government now works with the local community on a process for returning the land owned by Shenhua, including providing ownership of cultural sites to Gomeroi Traditional Owners and facilitating a shift back from mining to farming."
Ms Woods also commended the Berejiklian Government for announcing a $25M per annum “Royalties for Rejuvenation” fund for communities faced with economic disruption as demand for coal declines around the world.
But she warned it was vital the fund be managed by locals, for locals.
“People in the Hunter, Namoi, and Illawarra, who will be among the most impacted by the global decline in demand for coal, must be the ones making decisions about how this fund is spent locally," Ms Woods said.
“The last thing we want to see is bureaucrats in office buildings in Sydney making decisions for regions they know nothing about.
“If a local first approach is indeed enshrined in this fund, then this is a very welcome first step on the road to better preparing our coal dependent communities for a world that meets crucial climate targets and where coal plays a much more diminished role.”