Lock the Gate Alliance has called on the NSW Berejiklian Government to let farmers and Gomeroi Traditional Custodians know whether Shenhua has formally agreed to abandon plans for the Watermark coal mine on the Liverpool Plains.
The Sydney Morning Herald has this morning reported the government has struck a deal whereby Shenhua would not proceed with the Watermark coal mine, approved in January 2015 despite strong community opposition and serious threats to cultural heritage, groundwater, and koalas.
Details of the deal have not been made public, but it’s reported that it will involve a substantial sum of money being paid to the company.
Lock the Gate Alliance NSW spokesperson, Georgina Woods, said, “Any action by the Berejiklian Government that will end the shadow of this coal mine hanging over our national foodbowl on the Liverpool Plains would be very welcome.”
“Farmers and Traditional Owners have lived with the threat of this mine for more than a decade and we really hope the NSW Berejiklian Government will now let them know whether the nightmare is finally going to end.
“It was a costly mistake to approve this mine in the first place, and we hope that we will now see decisive action by the Berejiklian Government to ensure it never proceeds and that precious groundwater, koala habitat, and prime farmland are safeguarded for the long-term.
“This plan to open up a whole new farming area to coal mining was always a crazy idea and it’s essential that Liverpool Plains farmers can now focus on doing what they do best - growing food and fibre for Australia.
“Gomeroi Traditional Custodians have been untiring in their efforts to protect sites in the mine footprint and it would mean so much to see culture respected and those sites properly protected.
“What these people need now is certainty so they can finally breathe a sigh of relief, and plan for the future. After so many years of turmoil, the Berejiklian Government, and in particular Deputy Premier John Barilaro, needs to put the politics to one side, and show locals the respect they deserve by confirming the details of this deal.”