A recommendation that the Watermark coal mine proceed despite uncertainties about its impact on water and agriculture is a sure sign that the approvals system in NSW is broken, the Lock the Gate Alliance said today.
The mine was recommended for approval by the NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) this afternoon even though the PAC acknowledged there were problems with the water modelling done as part of the approvals process.
National campaign coordinator for Lock the Gate Carmel Flint said it was “gob smacking” that the Commission could recommend the project proceed when there were obvious gaps in knowledge about its impact.
“This just goes to show that the planning system in NSW is completely broken. Here we have a mine being recommended for approval in one of our most productive landscapes,” Ms Flint said.
“It shows that the Commission will stop at nothing to approve a coal mine. The Commission is not even willing to protect our most productive food growing regions from mining or to safeguard our water resources.
“The planning and assessments system in NSW needs a radical overhaul and a far more rigorous approach to approvals than the current process of rubber stamping.”
The open-cut Watermark coal mine is proposed for an area near Gunnedah in northern NSW, on the Liverpool Plains, known for its rich fertile soils.
The mine is owned by Chinese coal giant, Shenhua Group.
Further information: Carmel Flint 0400 521 474