Residents from New South Wales’ Central Coast gathered in the Sydney Domain on November 12 to mark the start of a 4-day Land and Environment Court hearing into the future of the proposed Wallarah 2 coalmine.
Environmental Defenders Office NSW is appearing on behalf of the Australian Coal Alliance (ACA) in the case against NSW Minister for Planning Anthony Roberts. EDO NSW argues that legal errors were made in the Planning Assessment Committee’s January approval of the Wallarah 2 long wall coalmine, west of Wyong on the Central Coast.
Wyong Coal, trading as Wyong Areas Joint Coal Venture, and Kores Australia are co-respondents. Kores, a fully-owned subsidiary of Korea Resource Corporation, is the majority shareholder of Wyong Coal.
The case is set to be fought on four main grounds: climate change; flooding impacts; compensatory water; and risks to water supply for farmers in the region.
Activists from the ACA described the significant impact the mine would have on water quality in an area.
Local Labor MP David Harris noted the hypocrisy of the NSW Coalition, which opposed the mine in opposition but reneged in government.
Labor, however, recently voted against a motion put by the NSW Greens to declare Jilliby State Conservation Area a national park. If passed, Jilliby would have been given upgraded protection, thereby preventing the longwall coalmine proposal from proceeding.
Harris said if Labor won the state election in March 2019, he would introduce a bill to cancel any existing approvals. He added that if Labor reneged on this, he would be prepared to resign.