Sydneysiders have witnessed what’s at "steak" should the destructive Bylong coal mine be approved, with produce from the fertile valley brought before the Independent Planning Commission's offices as part of a peaceful demonstration on Elizabeth St in the CBD.
Bylong farmer Phil Kennedy was among those at the event, and demanded the IPC reject multinational company KEPCO’s plans to destroy valuable agricultural land and state heritage.
“There are just so many reasons why this mine cannot go ahead,” he said.
“This valley is gorgeous and so productive. It would be a crime to ruin it with a dangerous coal mine, putting water resources and the Growie River under strain.
“Experts have recently said this mine will permanently damage the heritage values of the magnificent Tarwyn Park property, which is the birthplace of Natural Sequence Farming - a unique land management system that has been recognised world wide.
“We help produce food and fibre for the rest of NSW in this valley - yet KEPCO and the department think a great dirty coal mine is better use of this country.
“We’re also producing hay in this valley for export to other farmers in NSW, even during this drought.
“We’re visiting the IPC to let them know this mine must be rejected.”
The rally comes after the proposed mine, along with other coal mines in and around the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, were listed as a cause of concern due to risks of cumulative impacts at the recent World Heritage Committee meeting in Azerbaijan.
It also comes after hundreds of people opposed to the mine descended on the beautiful valley for a country music show, with country music stars Greg and Sara Storer also joining the call for the coal project to be scrapped.
Demonstration organiser and Lock the Gate spokesperson Nic Clyde said the Bylong Valley was no place for a coal mine.
“We are demonstrating to let the IPC know that the Bylong Valley is too precious to be torn up for a dirty great coal mine,” he said.
“The Bylong mine would ravage high quality farmland and drain underground water aquifers in a previously unmined rural valley.
“We must not compromise the integrity of a state significant heritage valley and it’s unique agricultural landscape, nor must we put at risk World Heritage values for the sake of a single, short-term coal mine.
“The combined open cut and underground mine would produce 6.5 million tonnes of thermal coal for the export market, and would create more than five times the carbon emissions than the now scrapped Rocky Hill mine, which was rejected in the Land and Environment Court in February in part due to the greenhouse gases it would produce.”