Local community groups have come out in force to oppose the recent approval of the Wallarah 2 coal mine near Wyong.
About 300 people, including local families and environmental groups, united in Erina and marched past the office of Terrigal MP, Adam Crouch, to protest the NSW Government’s approval of the coal mine.
The march was organised by the newly formed Coast Environmental Alliance (CEA), and its spokesperson, Emma French, said the march was to try and gain support from the Liberal State Member.
“He was invited to speak at the event but declined because he had parliamentary obligations,” she said.
Speakers at the rally included: Paul Robert Burton from Our Land Our Water Our Future; Abigail Boyd of The Greens NSW; Wyong MP, David Harris; Gosford MP, Liesl Tesch; Eva Jasmine and Jake Cassar from Coast Environmental Alliance (CEA), and environmental poet, Suzie Palmer.
French said the approved coal mine had the potential to directly impact the Yarramalong and Dooralong valleys, Blue Haven and Wyee areas, Olney State Forest, and Jilliby State Conservation Area and surrounding areas.
“This is literally only five minutes from Wyong, and 20 minutes from Gosford CBD.
“The project will involve the extraction of up to five million tonnes per annum of export quality thermal coal via underground longwall mining methods, resulting in total greenhouse gas emissions of more than 264 million tonnes of CO2.
“This conflicts with state and federal government programs to reduce our contribution to global climate change.
“Mining and related activities will occur 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 28 years, including a three-year construction period and the construction of a new rail line.
“This coal mine will take up half of the distance between Wyong and Yarramalong.
“It is within 4.9km of the Wyong CBD and the associated rail lines and supportive infrastructure will create air pollution risks to nearby residents.
“Mr Crouch is well aware that this mine is right in the middle of the water catchment that provides drinking water for Central Coast residents, but to date, he has been silent on the issue.”
French said the community must call on Crouch to represent and protect the people and call on the Liberal Government to stop this mine from going ahead.
Just days after the protest march, Wyong MP David Harris, took the fight, again, to State Parliament, in a speech about the community’s efforts to ensure that conditions placed on the mine are adhered to, and that the water supply to about 350,000 Central Coast residents is protected from contamination.
“The mining company has 122 conditions which were put in place because of community concerns and a lot of those are about water integrity,” Harris said.
“We know that the baseline data used by the company is very unreliable …. they did not do the necessary preliminary work to demonstrate how the aquifers work in that area.
“In its wisdom, the Independent Planning Commission panel put in place a condition which says that after 10 years the mining company has to compensate the Central Coast water catchment for lost water.
“No one really knows how much water there is now, or how much will be lost through mining.”
Harris said people he’d spoken to at Central Coast Water were very worried about the risks of water going into the mine and then coming out, particularly what the water is carrying and if it could be cleaned to a safe drinking standard.
“At the protest rally, we said we would all work together to hold the mining company and the government to account to make sure the conditions are properly adhered to,” he said.
“We do not think they can be.
“There are no real safeguards that are foolproof or 100 percent right, because bureaucrats have created conditions on paper.
“We will continue to fight to make sure the integrity of our clean water is protected,” Harris told the Parliament.
Media statement, July 30
Coast Environmental Alliance, Emma French
NSW Parliament Hansard, Aug 1
Wyong MP, David Harris