The NSW Perrottet Government’s hodge podge coal policy is sacrificing some communities to the ravages of coal mining while protecting others, it has been revealed in State Parliament today.
This morning the NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole simultaneously ruled out coal mining at Wollombi in the Hunter Valley and at Ganguddy-Kelgoola near Rylstone.
At the same time, he condemned the village of Wollar to being entirely surrounded by multinational coal mining giant Peabody, announcing approval of a new exploration licence that attracted extensive opposition and was the subject of a community protest just last week.
The future of three other greenfield sites identified as potentially being made available for coal exploration in the Namoi, Upper Hunter, and the Central West under the NSW Government’s “Strategic Statement on Coal” remains uncertain.
Lock the Gate Alliance National Coordinator Georgina Woods said the removal of the coal exploration threat from Wollombi and Ganguddy-Kelgoola was welcome, but that it was a bitter blow for the government to condemn other communities at the same time.
“This hodge podge approach by the NSW Perrottet Government is a cruel blow for those whose homes and businesses remain under threat from coal mining,” she said.
“It is fantastic that the state has abandoned plans to sacrifice these truly special places in the secluded valleys of Wollombi and Ganguddy-Kelgoola but it’s hard to celebrate that victory when other communities face the uncertainty and damage of further coal mining.
“There’s nothing strategic about the State Government’s hodge podge approach to the coal mining expansion. Releasing greenfield areas for coal exploration condemns rural communities to uncertainty and conflict and is at odds with the Government’s own climate change commitments.
“The International Energy Agency has made it clear that there is no room for further coal mines or expansions if we want to avoid catastrophic global warming. As it stands, New South Wales is yet to act on its commitment to that.”