Lock the Gate Alliance says the NSW Government must move swiftly to prevent re-lodgement of coal mining applications that have previously been rejected to protect the Central Coast catchment from being undermined by the Wallarah 2 coal project in Wyong.
Last week, NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts said he was seeking advice from the Department of Planning on options to prevent already-rejected coal mine projects from being re-lodged, following the refusal of the Drayton South coal mine project in the Hunter Valley for the second time.
This week, Mr Roberts' department sent the latest Wallarah 2 coal project to the Planning and Assessment Commission for decision, saying that it was “approvable” with conditions.
“The threat of Wallarah 2 has haunted the Wyong community for eight years,” said Steve Phillips, Hunter regional coordinator for the Lock The Gate Alliance.
“It was rejected by the then Labor government in 2011, in the face of overwhelming opposition from the Wyong community, including local councils and the water corporation.
“In 2012, the Coalition government promised to stop the project once and for all and protect the Central Coast water catchment from further mining applications. But they failed to do that.
“Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council blocked the second application for the mine, but the company came back for a third attempt.
“It is frankly appalling that the Department of Planning is now proposing that the Wallarah project be approved.
“The people of Wyong have fought off this damaging coal mine project for nearly a decade, and they've been promised by both sides of politics that the mine will not go ahead.
“We call on Minister Roberts to expedite new laws to prevent the re-assessment of mining applications that have already been rejected, including Wallarah 2, and thus act to protect our drinking water catchments.”