October 29, 2010

Australia Outlines Biodiversity Conservation Strategy Through 2015

Tony Burke, Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, today released Australia’s new strategy for biodiversity conservation on behalf of the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council.

See http://www.thegovmonitor.com/economy/australia-outlines-biodiversity-conservation-strategy-through-2015-41601.html

Mine moratorium call - Mudgee Guardian article 29/10/10

NSW Farmers’ Association Mudgee branch president John Webb has backed the group’s call for a moratorium on new mining or coal seam gas developments across the state.
Mr Webb said the association was not opposed to mining but was looking for greater transparency in the approval process.

He said from a farmer’s view, he was concerned about the potential loss of good agricultural land but understood mining was good for the economy.

“What we need is a balance,” he said.

“The agricultural industry will feed the world forever, whereas coal won’t.

“If you travel the length and breadth of this land you will see our best farming land is also in areas with higher rainfall and we do not want this lost to mining.”

Mr Webb also questioned the mines’ land use after mining.

“They say they will return the land in a better shape than previous but who will they return it to?”

“This is something I have brought up at all CCC (community consultation committee) meetings.”

NSW Farmers’ Association Mining Taskforce Chair, Fiona Simson said mineral and petroleum titles and applications now covered around 70 per cent of the state and a long-term plan must be implemented.

Mr Webb said as a Mid-Western Regional Councillor and local farmer, he believed the cumulative impacts of the mines should be taken into consideration.

“It’s not just one mine or the other,” he said.

“There are a whole heap together.

“People think they are a world away from Mudgee but they are not.”

Cr Webb said the view of Mudgee not becoming another Hunter Valley was disrespectful to people living in the shire.

“There are residents who must be looked after who are living on our shire but are a part of the Hunter Valley too,” he said.

The Mid-Western regional council has also backed a moratorium on mining within the region, earlier this year calling for a halt to State Government approvals until a strategic plan was put in place.

However, NSW Minerals Council said the NSW Farmers’ Association call for a moratorium was irresponsible.

NSW Minerals Council Deputy CEO, Sue-Ern Tan said putting a stop to new mines or extensions would hurt future job prospects in regional areas and make NSW the ‘ugly duckling’ of Australian states for doing business.

“They’re [NSW Farmers] advocating the use of a sledge hammer to crack a walnut,” she said.

“We are behind the NSW Government’s new sub-committee of cabinet that will specifically with coal mining issues and develop a strategic plan.

“It seems that the NSW Farmers’ Association now shares a policy with The Greens, the party that has been working against the interests of the agricultural sector for years.”

Ms Tan also rejected completely the suggestion that the minerals industry was allowed to go unchecked.

“We are the most heavily regulated industry in the state with 572 pieces of legislation, regulation and Codes of Practice that we must work within.”

October 22, 2010

John Hatton to chair Mudgee coal meeting - 15th November 2010

Mudgee Guardian 22 Oct, 2010 10:38 AM
Former independent member of the NSW Legislative Assembly and anti-corruption campaigner John Hatton will chair a public meeting on November 15 to discuss the community views on the affect of coal mining in the region.
As an independent MP for 22 years until his retirement in 1995, Mr Hatton exposed corruption and waste in the public service and legal system and in 1994 successfully moved for a Royal Commission into the NSW Police Service.

He is campaigning for re-election to the NSW parliament in the 2011 State election.

The November 15 meeting has been called to address community concern about the effects of mining expansion on water, rail traffic and the environment.

Barbara Hickson, a member of the community group organising the meeting, said the proposed Cobbora and Bylong Valley mining proposals were seen as of significant interest.

“We are inviting government representatives, mining companies and the local community,” she said.

Mr Hatton said he was pleased to have the opportunity to chair the meeting.

Cr Russell Holden, who at Wednesday’s council meeting expressed concern about the transparency of the mining approval process, also welcomed the appointment of Mr Hatton.

“John is the calibre of person we need to assist us in obtaining total transparency regarding mining approvals within the region,” he said.

“I urge all parties and the whole of the community attend this important meeting.”

The meeting will be held at the Club Mudgee Auditorium on November 15 from 7pm to 9.30pm.

October 20, 2010

Group concerned about mining effects plans coal meeting in November

Mudgee Guardian 20 Oct, 2010 08:43 AM

 A group of community members concerned about the effect of coal mining in the Mid-Western Region are planning a public meeting in November to allow others to express their views.

The group has been meeting informally and researching how the expansion of the area could affect health, water, tourism, and agriculture.

Member Barbara Hickson said she had been approached by concerned citizens to convene a public meeting in Mudgee before Christmas and would work with the community and Mid-Western Regional Council to plan the meeting.

“Two major issues are the impending absorption of local water supplies and the potential coal train movements throughout the Cudgegong Valley,” she said.

“The potential of six gigalitres (6,000,000,000 litres) being taken up by the Cobbora Coal Mine proposal has brought many in the community to fear that water supplies for local users may dry up within a decade.

“Further potential mining in the Bylong Valley, Hargraves, Gulgong and The Cherry Tree Hill area are motivating the community to work together.

“Community concerns about further mining development have been raised in a number of public meetings and by Mid-Western Regional Council.

“The prospect is that NSW-owned power stations are seeking to establish their own coal mines which would be approved by themselves.”

Earlier this year, Mid-Western Regional Council requested an embargo on approval of any new coal mining developments until a regional strategic management plan is in place.

The group is also supporting a call from Cr Russell Holden for greater transparency in the processes used to assess mining applications.

Cr Holden has given notice of a motion to today’s Mid-Western Regional Council meeting calling on council to formally request a copy of the full base water data for the proposed Cobbora Mine, and to write to the Department of Planning requesting written confirmation of their offer to pay for half the cost of an independent evaluation of the potential effects on water.

Councillor Holden will also call on council to write to the NSW Premier and all appropriate ministers, requesting input into all and any negotiations on mining expansion in the Mid-Western Region.

Mayor, GM to meet Minister
Mayor Des Kennedy and general manager Warwick Bennett will meet with Department of Planning representatives tomorrow to discuss concerns over the effects of coal mining expansion in the region.

Mr Kennedy and Mr Bennett will also meet with Minister for Planning Tony Kelly on November 3.
Issues raised will include the proposed Ulan West project, and in particular a proposal in the draft condition of consent that a voluntary planning agreement (VPA) with Mid-Western Regional Council be deferred until the end of December, 2011.

The VPA would cover Ulan Coal Mines Limited’ contributions towards local infrastructure and services to meet demand generated by the project, including contributions to maintenance of Cope Road.

Mid-Western Regional Council will discuss its response to the proposed conditions of consent at its meeting tonight.

October 16, 2010

October 14, 2010

Southern Highlands Coal Action Group

This new group in the Southern Highlands just got their web site up and running; take a look as the threat is new there too and they seem to have some good tactics.

At their public meeting, local MP Pru Goward urged a proactive strike against mining, suggesting a virtual civil disobedience pledge:
“I hereby give my pledge that I will not allow an employee, associate or representative of  (name of coal compamy)  onto my property at any time for the purpose of conducting mining exploration.”

THE LAND newspaper has an article about their recent meeting which can be seen at:

The Local Council has voted to support the newly formed Coal Action Group - see newspaper article:

Posted for President

October 11, 2010

The Effect of Mining - NSW Farmers Fact Sheet updated

The NSW Farmers Association have updated their Fact Sheet on the Effects of Mining . . . on Water Resources.

It is a straightforward and yet hard-hitting policy statement from this important group.

See Reference Documents page shown on the right hand side-bar or download from here.

October 7, 2010

If it's not coal, it's coal seam gas

Cessnock Council Unanimously Votes Against Coal Seam Gas

by Hunter Valley Protection Alliance on Thursday, 07 October 2010 at 01:32

At the Cessnock Council Meeting last night, Councillor Dale Troy moved a rescission motion on part of the Cessnock LEP 2010 to put an amendment exclude mining and extractive activities from the zone containing the vineyards.

This motion, seconded by Councillor James Ryan, welcomed by WAGE and the Hunter Valley Protection Alliance (HVPA) was supported without contest by the Council.

Both Councillors had attended a meeting organised by the Hunter Valley Vineyards Association, Wine Country Tourism and HVPA at The Vintage in Pokolbin on 30 September at which over 100 people from the wine and tourism industries showed their support against AGL Energy’s activities in Broke Fordwich, Pokolbin and Wollombi Valley.

“We are not anti-energy,” said Peter Firminger, Vice-Chair of WAGE. “If Coal Seam Gas is to be a viable industry in Australia, it must be conducted away from agriculture and viticulture, away from populated regions and certainly no-where near fragile water resources including aquifers, brooks and rivers in the lower Hunter Valley. The process of ‘Fracking’ is just dangerous around people and water resources.”

“AGL Energy, and the other Coal Seam Gas companies, love doing business in built-up areas because they have access to infrastructure – roads, power and smaller lot sizes so there is more chance to persuade or purchase properties of interest.”

“We need to protect communities like Broke, Fordwich, Milbrodale, Bulga, Pokolbin, Gloucester and up into the Liverpool Plains from these companies in areas that have significant rural industry already at the heart of the communities. The new paradigm has spoken and Rural NSW needs to be listened to. This is just the beginning of this industry here, we can learn from the dire mistakes already made in the United States and in Queensland. People and animals are dying from the effects of Coal Seam Gas mining.”


Posted for RSWUA

October 1, 2010


http://www.riverssos.com Rivers SOS is an alliance of over 40 environmental and community groups concerned with the wrecking of rivers in New South Wales by mining operations.


Communities around NSW are actively fighting campaigns against the Government's expansionary vision, its addiction to coal royalties, and the cumulative impacts of mining on the environment and on human health. The Greens use their presence in the NSW Parliament to work with these communities and help them take their fight to the Government.http://nonewcoal.greens.org.au/coal