“One of those conditions allows the mining company to recycle mine water back into the catchment.
“(They’re) trusting Kores to ensure the water will be a quality fit to drink, without anyone even asking the community if they are okay with that,” Boyd said.
“The community still has very little information about how it’s water supply will be protected from the discharge of 300 gigalitres of treated mine water per year.
“Mine water is salty and it contains heavy metals.
“To what standard will that water be cleaned before release?
“How will it be cleaned and what will become of the toxic sludge left over?
“Whose water catchment will that be fobbed off into?
“I say to the government, if their mining approval process has resulted in a long wall mine being permitted in the water catchment supplying drinking water to over 340,000 people, and when that mining approval’s process was resulted in allowing a mining company to discharge recycled mine water into that drinking water catchment, then that process is deeply flawed.
“This Bill will fix that flaw, at least when it comes to Wallarah 2.
“Water is Life, and even Barry O’Farrell knew that when he proudly wore that ‘Water Not Coal’ t-shirt all those years ago,” Boyd said.
Meanwhile, on October 31, the NSW Government released the final report of the Independent Expert Panel for Mining in the Catchment, which was established in February, 2018, to provide advice on the impact of mining activities in the Greater Sydney Water Catchment, with a focus on risks to water quality and cumulative impacts.
Planning and Public Spaces Minister, Rob Stokes, said the panel made 50 detailed recommendations which the government would review and respond to in due course, but “in the interim, no new development applications for mining in the Special Areas (of the Sydney catchment) will be determined”.
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment will now consult with key agencies including WaterNSW, the Resource Regulator and NRAR as well as external stakeholders to develop a plan of action.
Wyong MP, David Harris, a long time campaigner against the mine, said obviously there are concerns about water loss in the Sydney catchment, and we are looking for anything in that report to help us have extra conditions applied to the Wallarah 2 mine.
Another anti-Wallarah 2 rally was held on the Central Coast on November 2, with around 400 people peacefully protesting outside the Council Chambers in Wyong.
It was organised by Coast Environmental Alliance (CEA) and spokesperson, Jake Cassar, said apart from the drinking water catchment, the CEA was also concerned about the natural habitat as well as Aboriginal heritage sites in the mining area.
“With deep gratitude for the efforts in the past, especially from the Australian Coal Alliance who are still very active, we need ongoing political action right now that the community can really get behind,” Cassar said.
“We have been pushing the Liberal Party to reverse its decision and support local farmers and communities, rather than their mates in Korea.
“We have also been lobbying the Greens and Labor to continue taking the fight to Parliament and oppose this terrible decision, with the spirit and dedication that is needed to get the government to reverse it.
“The Liberal Government is well aware of the threat to our community’s water supply, that’s why they promised to stop it in its tracks as an election promise, but as soon as they won the election, they bent to the South Korean government backed project and gave them the green light.”
Another peaceful protest will be held outside Parliament House in Sydney on the morning of November 21, and members of the public are invited to attend the chamber to hear the Bill being debated.
Media release and interview, Oct 31
Jake Cassar, Coast Environmental Alliance
Media release, Oct 24
Abigail Boyd, Central Coast Greens MLC
Speech, Oct 24
Abigail Boyd, NSW Greens
Document, Oct 31
Central Coast Drinking Water Catchments Protection Bill 2019
Media statement, Oct 31
Rob Stokes, NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces
Journalist, Sue Murray