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Rocky future for coal industry should be no shock

Lock the Gate Alliance has hit back at what it says is a hysterical and blinkered reaction by the NSW mining industry to the recent decision by the Land and Environment Court to uphold the Planning Commission’s refusal of the Rocky Hill coal mine near Gloucester.

LTGA spokesperson Georgina Woods said the writing had been on the wall for a long time that the world could not continue to burn coal indefinitely and also avoid catastrophic climate change.

“The court’s decision merely reflects what climate scientists have been saying about the incompatibility of coal burning with global efforts to address climate change and protect our communities from it’s devastating effects,” she said.

“This requires serious consideration, not ill-informed tantrums from the coal industry as we’ve seen since the decision was handed down.

“The decision will not lead to the end of the coal industry as claimed by the mining industry, but it should deliver more robust assessments of the climate impacts of coal mines by decision makers.

“One of the key findings of the judgement was that the Rocky Hill mine should have been assessed against existing NSW climate policies, which is hardly a radical outcome.

“It is common sense that this should be the standard by which future mines, such as the Bylong project, are assessed by decision makers."

Ms Woods said that the NSW Premier needed to resist pressure by the mining industry to weaken environmental regulations in response to the court decision, especially since her government had recently criticised the failures of the Federal Government on climate change.

“The NSW Premier and her ministers have repeatedly said they support action on climate change, and this court decision takes an important step forward in doing that," she said.

“NSW communities would be the big losers if coal companies and the government continued with a business as usual approach and tried to undo this important legal landmark.

“Ignoring the global changes that are occurring to address climate change and shift to renewables will only harm communities that are currently dependent on coal mining. What is needed is investment and early planning to diversify economies and prepare for the future.

“If Rocky Hill is the hill upon which coal industry and the government wishes to die rather than admit that change is underway, it will do a great deal of damage to the communities in regional New South Wales that urgently need concerted support and planning for the future.”

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