New NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole’s decision to recommend against opening new land west of the Blue Mountains to coal mining is a huge relief for the communities that would be impacted.
Mr Toole, who represents part of the region that is covered by the proposed “Hawkins-Rumker” tenements, made the announcement during budget estimates in parliament this morning.
Hawkins-Rumker surrounds the agriculture and tourism focused town of Rylstone and was earmarked for coal exploration under then-Deputy Premier John Barilaro’s “Future of Coal” statement last year, along with numerous other land parcels throughout the state.
However, submissions from the community in response to the proposal recently revealed 99 percent opposition to releasing the land for coal mining.
Rylstone horse stud operator Janet Walk said, “The whole of the government's strategic coal plan needs to be reviewed for its viability and for its social licence. It put us under tremendous mental stress.
“It’s so unnecessary now because it is imperative we move towards renewables. We know this, our government knows this - all it takes is a spine to tell constituents the truth.”
Lock the Gate Alliance NSW spokesperson Nic Clyde said he hoped the decision foreshadowed a more serious move away from opening new land to coal mining from the Perrottet Government.
“Ripping apart the farming and tourism focused district of Rylstone for coal never made any sense,” he said.
“It would have transformed this beautiful region that rests against the western flank of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area into the type of moonscape we now see in places like the Upper Hunter.
“We’re extremely grateful Paul Toole has listened to his constituents in the local region who bravely fought this frankly obscene plan from the previous Deputy Premier.
“This decision is an important signal that New South Wales is going to focus on the future. World leaders are in Glasgow right now to forge a path to a cleaner, sustainable future. Opening new parts of the state to coal is not part of that path.”