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NSW Government must take chance offered by Rocky Hill to fix climate gap

Lock the Gate Alliance this afternoon welcomed news Gloucester Resources would not appeal the landmark court judgment rejecting the Rocky Hill coal mine and says NSW must take this historic opportunity to consider two pending new coal mine decisions in a new light.

After being rejected in the Land and Environment Court in part due to its projected contribution to global warming, the Rocky Hill coal mine was officially scrapped today, with owner Gloucester Resources Limited announcing it would not appeal the court’s decision.

Two other new NSW coal mines - United Wambo and Bylong - are now under consideration by the Independent Planning Commission, with an outcome possible at any time.

Groundswell Gloucester chairperson Julie Lyford said the Gloucester community and most importantly the affected residents were absolutely delighted they could now get on with their lives.

“The uncertainty and anxious waiting is over,” she said.

“The decade long fight to protect their homes, families and the beautiful Gloucester valley has been arduous and distressing.

“The community can now move forward with progressive and sustainable industries. Indeed, since the news in early 2016 regarding AGL not proceeding with their 330 well gas field, and then the refusal of the Rocky Hill coal mine, house prices have risen and housing stock as well as new builds are in hot demand.

“Tourism visitation this Easter weekend was very strong. Service industries and light industrial business continue to grow.

“With climate change threatening everyone and everything on the planet, we owe it to this and future generations to step away from fossil fuel, embrace renewables and work towards just transitions".

Lock the Gate spokesperson Georgina Woods said following the Rocky Hill decision, the IPC must turn its mind to the global, as well as local, impacts of new coal mines.

“The Bylong project has a lot in common with Rocky Hill because as well as contributing to climate change, it would have unacceptable local impacts on agriculture, water and a beautiful valley rich in natural and cultural heritage ” she said.

“Like Rocky Hill, it is the wrong mine, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

“The Rocky Hill saga put the local community through an unnecessary amount of trauma and heartache before the eventual, hard fought victory.

“We need the NSW Government to recognise that the world is changing and this is a moment for leadership.

“The government must safeguard water and agricultural land, and help regional communities with coal dependent economies transition to a sustainable future.”

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