Lock the Gate Alliance has welcomed the Independent Planning Commission’s decision to postpone a public hearing into a large new coal mine proposed near the Namoi River at Boggabri.
Lock the Gate spokesperson Georgina Woods said the Planning Minister imposed an impossible timeframe on the Commission and described the planning process for major mining projects as being in disarray.
“We’re very glad the Commission has made the decision to postpone the initial public hearing for the Vickery coal mine until next year, which the community has repeatedly asked them to do,” she said.
“The Planning Minister imposed an impossible 12 week deadline on the Commission to complete its initial review of the mine but his department only provided its preliminary issues report to the Commission two weeks before the hearing was due to take place.
“The assessment and approval of large new coal mines has a huge impact on the lives of people who live nearby and on regional communities and it does not appear that this Minister and this government are taking seriously the need for this process to be orderly, objective and fair.
“It’s unfortunate that it took until the day before for the decision to be made to postpone the hearing, especially coming after the debacle last week when the Commission’s public meeting about the United Wambo coal mine was postponed just two hours before the meeting was due to start due to conflicts of interest.
“The administration of planning and mining are in disarray and Ministers for Planning and Resources and Energy need to initiate a Special Commission of Inquiry into the whole process and stop considering new mining applications while that inquiry is underway.”