December 26, 2012

Review slams controversial mining proposal

An independent review of plans for a controversial mine expansion on the edge of the Blue Mountains has recommended the project not be approved.

The Planning Assessment Commission has found the benefits of Coalpac's proposed mine development at Cullen Bullen, in the Lithgow district, are "substantially outweighed" by the negative impacts it will have. 

The company wants to extend and consolidate its Cullen Valley and Invincible mines, which would see up to 900 hectares of open cut mining developed. 

Two public hearings were held in the region as part of the review, where one woman told the panel her family was already suffering respiratory illness from the mine's current operations. 

In its report, the commission says it has serious concerns about the impacts of dust, noise and blasting on the health of residents. 

It says it is also concerned about site rehabilitation, as the area is already proposed for inclusion in the conservation reserve system. 

The development has been strongly opposed by environmental groups, who say it would damage the Gardens of Stone, an area of national and international environmental significance. 

The review says there is "considerable uncertainty" about the validity of rehabilitation claims made by the proponent.

Justin McKee from the Blue Mountains Conservation Society says its great to see the significance of the area acknowledged.

"It's impossible to rehabilitate things like endangered ecological communities, you can't replace endangered species, its veneer work, it's very limited in its capacity. 

"So, rehabilitating what's already there back to what it was is a really difficult project."

A final decision on the project is expected early next year.

Ref: ABC NEWS Fri Dec 21, 2012

The PAC’s report is available at (look for the What’s New link at
the top right hand corner of the page).

Media Release by Planning Assessment Commission on the Coalpac project is available here. 

Posted for Guy 

December 18, 2012


In 2011, Barry O'Farrell promised to return planning powers to the community but the reforms now being considered by his Government will take away our rights to have a say on the majority of developments in our area including coal mines.

Tell Barry what you think about this by signing the BPN petition here:

November 30, 2012

Centennial bite the bullet

 Centennial bite the bullet
By LEN ASHWORTH Nov 29,2012, 4 a.m.

IN another disturbing development for the all important local mining industry the western field’s biggest operator, Centennial Coal, has announced a suspension of production at its newest mine, Airly.

The Airly mine, near Capertee, has been operating for only a few months.

It is now to be placed on care and maintenance with inevitable job losses.

Centennial will also stop production at its Mannering mine on the central coast.

A spokesperson for Centennial said yesterday the company was seeking to deploy as many of the displaced miners as possible.

The company has rejected reports from some media outlets yesterday that as many as 100 miners would lose their jobs.

General Manager External Affairs Katie Brassil emphasised an anticipated 40 job losses were anticipated ‘spread across the entire group, not just from Airly or Mannering’.

New capital expenditure is also being put on hold but Ms Brassil said that an expansion project at Angus Place and the coal loader extension at Wallerawang will not be affected and will go ahead as planned.

In a prepared statement released on Tuesday evening Centennial Coal said:

LIKE most other companies in the mining industry Centennial Coal (Centennial) has been reviewing its mining operations in response to the recent significant decrease in the US dollar price of export thermal coal over the past few months combined with the high Australian dollar.

The industry is suffering from record high production costs, a result of the resources boom-driven competition for scarce resources increasing wages and other input costs, but also the impost of increased government processes and charges.

As a result of this review, capital expenditure on a number of projects has been deferred, which will impact some positions across the group, and regretfully Centennial has decided to place both Mannering (Lake Macquarie) and Airly Mine’s (Western Coalfields) on ‘care and maintenance’ commencing January 2013.

“The decision to place these two mines on ‘care and maintenance’ has not been taken lightly,” Centennial’s Chief Operating Officer Steve Bracken said.

“Both mines have struggled to make a positive contribution in their own right not only through the lower coal price but a combination of difficult mining conditions, poor coal quality and, in the case of Airly, transport costs have hindered the viability of these mines.

“In the current market, their losses can no longer be absorbed without negatively impacting the group’s overall performance,” Mr Bracken said.

“Centennial will redeploy the majority of these employees to neighbouring sites across the group minimising redundancies to about 40,” he said.

While on ‘care and maintenance’ both mines will continue to meet safety and environmental regulations, studies and approvals currently under way will be progressed and the sites appropriately maintained to enable a reopening when market conditions improve.

Centennial are not the only mining company with major disruptions, head to page three in today's Lithgow Mercury to see how Coalpac staff have been effected by government indecision.

Posted for Guy

November 29, 2012

Better Planning Network - Workshop

Better Planning Network
      Media Release

PO Box 989 Lane Cove NSW 1595 Email: Website:  
                    An affiliation of more than 100 community groups

Workshop Calls for More Community Rights in Planning

Better Planning Network participants in a workshop with senior officers of the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure have called for the community to have mandated rights to participate in and challenge planning and/or development decisions.

“This was a positive and productive workshop,” said Corinne Fisher of the Better Planning Network. 

“The Departmental staff undertook to present a summary of the issues raised to the Minister so that he is aware of community views before the White Paper is finalised. On the other hand, there is no commitment to implement our suggestions.”

Better Planning Network representatives were adamant that Ecologically Sustainable Development should be the driving factor and prime objective of the new Act. They also argued that State Planning objectives should include conservation of biodiversity, protection of prime agricultural land, heritage protection and promotion of community wellbeing.

“These issues are fundamental to good planning,” said Ms Fisher. “They must go hand in hand with open, transparent and accountable decision-making at all levels of planning and development. All decisions should be open to scrutiny and should be accompanied by written explanations of how and why they were made.”

Participants also pointed out that if the community is to participate meaningfully in the strategic planning phase, as the government has claimed, there must be sufficient resources and time to enable genuine and meaningful dialogue. This will require professional facilitators.

Among the points raised at the workshop were:

•  There must be no direct employment relationship between developers and private certifiers

• The system should encourage a collaborative relationship between developers and community for code-assessable projects

• Community members must have the right to comment on site-specific and local development issues including building design, overshadowing and social amenity

The community must have the same rights to challenge planning/development decisions as those granted to developers.

For more information contact: Corinne Fisher 0421 831 889
19th November 2012

November 28, 2012

The Obeid Family unravels

More incriminating details are emerging as the ICAC continues its inquiry into the shady deals done over the Bylong Valley coal resource. Former mining minister Ian Mcdonald was alleged to have given inside information on a government tender for exploration licences in 2008 around the same time he would've been looking at the resource of the Ilford/Running Stream area.
Read more here:

November 22, 2012

Obeid Friend Lying His Head Off at ICAC

The Independent Commission Against Corruption is probing into the dodgy deals that went on between former MP Eddie Obeid and his mates over land grabs in the Bylong Valley. Read on to see how crooked these guys are being shown up to be.

Environmental Defenders Workshop

Gardens of Stone Video

Some clever people have made a short video about the threat to the Gardens of Stone National Park which is part of the World Heritage Listed Greater Blue Mountains National Park. They liken it's pending destruction as akin to blowing up that other Heritage listed monument the sydney Opera House.

You can view it here:


The RSWUA along with other community action groups has now joined the Better Planning Network which advocates for more community rights in government planning processes. 
At a recent workshop  with senior officers of the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure, participants called for the community to have mandated rights to participate in and challenge planning and/or development decisions.
“This was a positive and productive workshop,” said Corinne Fisher of the Better Planning Network. “The Departmental staff undertook to present a summary of the issues raised to the Minister so that he is aware of community views before the White Paper is finalised. On the other hand, there is no commitment to implement our suggestions.”
Better Planning Network representatives were adamant that Ecologically Sustainable Development should be the driving factor and prime objective of the new Act. They also argued that State Planning objectives should include conservation of biodiversity, protection of prime agricultural land, heritage protection and promotion of community wellbeing.
“These issues are fundamental to good planning,” said Ms Fisher. “They must go hand in hand with open, transparent and accountable decision-making at all levels of planning and development. All decisions should be open to scrutiny and should be accompanied by written explanations of how and why they were made.”
Participants also pointed out that if the community is to participate meaningfully in the strategic planning phase, as the government has claimed, there must be sufficient resources and time to enable genuine and meaningful dialogue. This will require professional facilitators.
Among the points raised at the workshop were:

·        - There must be no direct employment relationship between developers and private certifiers
·        - The system should encourage a collaborative relationship between developers and community for code-assessable projects
·         - Community members must have the right to comment on site-specific and local development issues including building design, overshadowing and social amenity
·         -  The community must have the same rights to challenge planning/development decisions as those granted to developers.

November 17, 2012

Best article to explain CSG

John Williams Scientific Services Pty Ltd recently prepared a report for The Australian Council of Environmental Deans and Directors. 
The report is titled An analysis of coal seam gas production and natural resource management in Australia: Issues and ways forward.
Both a precis and a full report are available to download: [ Download Precis ] [ Download Full Report ]
Ref: Capertee Valley Alliance Inc. blog

November 12, 2012



At a recent meeting of the Running Stream Water Users Association, Mitchell Clapham, the Mudgee district council chairman of the NSW Farmers Association expressed dismay over negotiations being conducted by Centennial Coal with farmers in the Ilford/Running Stream area.
“To be blunt, I feel pissed off!” he told Association members during an address last Sunday at the Running Stream Hall; “It raises my eyebrows, the things they put in their compensation schedule then argue it’s not compensable.”
Mr Clapham was referring to an item in the coal company’s Access Agreement about landholders’ time which is listed in the mining company’s compensation schedule yet, under Section 262 of the Mining Act, is not considered to be something “real or tangible”.
Apart from spending much of his time dealing with Centennial Coal over access to his own property on Mt Vincent, Mr Clapham has also been involved in the long-running negotiations between the NSW Farmers Association and the NSW Minerals Council over a mining access agreement template for members.
“It’s difficult to negotiate because farmers cannot legally deny access to mining companies but we do need to define what is fair and reasonable compensation”, he said.
Currently there is no legal precedent for compensating a landowner for their time, which can often be considerable. Mr Clapham has had three on-site meetings with Centennial and two external meetings, as well as spending many hours of his valuable time researching and making phone calls about the matter. “If a fitter at a mine can earn $80 to $100 per hour, then I think it’s only fair and reasonable that a farmer’s time is valued at least that much too.”

It is a point that has yet to be tested in a court of law but the Association has vowed to support any members who wish to take the matter to the Land and Environment Court. It also backs Councillor Esme Martens’ stance to make water a compensable loss. Surely this is only fair and reasonable?

RSWUA General Meeting Minutes 4.11.2012 1

Held at Running Stream Hall 
Meeting commenced  3 pm 
Present: The Committee and 17 members of the Association 
Apologies: There were no apologies recorded 
Item I: Special Resolution – Adoption of Model Constitution 
The motion, recommended by the Committee, 
That Running Stream Water Users Association adopt the Model Constitution prepared by the Dept of Fair Trading to replace the present Rules was unanimously adopted 

The meeting was then addressed by Mitchell Clapham who spoke about access agreements. He gave an update on the latest developments with access agreements, being that Greg and Christine Reeves and Centennial went to mediation to try to get agreement on their access agreement. The arbitrator basically ruled in favour of all that Centennial wanted to have in the document and the Reeves’ requirements were over-ruled. 
In brief, he noted: 
NSW Farmers is not happy with the NSW Government’s draft Strategic Land Use Policy. 
NSW Farmers has also been working for the last 2 years with the Minerals Council to get a template for a standard access agreement drafted. The template has now been launched but NSW Farmers is still very unhappy with it. 
The ‘Denman group’, of which he is a member, has been working with Centennial to try to draft a template for a standard access agreement. So far this has not happened, mainly because of the issue of amount of compensation and minimum standard of road access. Members of the group want to have Mid-Western Regional Council’s minimum standard for gravel roads adopted . (as the minimum standard, but) Centennial contest this, John Sandona verbally saying that their roads would actually need to be above this standard, but then later their legal people saying that standard was excessive. 
Centennial and Greg & Christine Reeves have been to mediation over the Reeves’ access agreement. No proper agreement on compensation was reached at the mediation. It was simply noted that landholders would have to demonstrate a compensable loss for any compensation to be paid. 
The Mining Act provides for compensable loss for farmers in Sections 262 and 263; however it is argued by Centennial that the farmer’s time spent in mediation is not compensable. There are few precedents set in court for compensable loss because most mining agreements are made in mediation or settled on the steps of court, not the courts. Mitchell himself for example has spent at least two full days on negotiations with Centennial relating to his own property and his time spent on this matter is apparently not compensable. He said he would like to be paid at least $100/hr for his time (noting that Centennial‘s legal representatives are probably paid far more than this), but Centennial laywers point out that the landholders time is not listed in the Act as a compensable item . Only things real and tangible are compensable does not acknowledge his time as a compensable loss. 
As the meditation failed, both parties then put in a written submission to the Aribitrator. The Reeves did theirs on their own while Centennial had their legal team put together an 11 page document 
RSWUA General Meeting Minutes 4.11.2012 2 

pointing out that the Arbitrator was constrained by what was in the Mining Act, plus another 80 pages of examples of previous cases 
Mitchell feels that Centennial is playing hardball and is not going to compensate people properly at all, despite what they have said verbally and generally about paying all compensable losses. He said he feels they have not treated the Reeves or the other members of the Denman group with respect and decency. He also 
The bottom line is that the landholder does not have much negotiating power at all. 

The meeting finished at 4.30 pm. 

N.B. There is a town and village forum to be held at Ilford Hall at 1 pm on Wednesday 14 November by the Mid-Western Regional Council. Members are encouraged to attend and to put any concerns (whether related to the proposed mine at Running Stream or other concerns) to the council representatives. Please note that we have been advised that  if people dont turn up, then Ilford will be dropped as a forum venue.

November 8, 2012

Inglenook CCC Minutes

The RSWUA objects to the term 'Inglenook' being used by Centennial Coal in relation to our lands. The renaming of the Ilford/Running Stream/Clandulla area is a crude way of appropriating our country for foreign-owned commercial interests and we see it as an affront.

Nevertheless, that is the name which will appear on the coal company's reports referring to our heartland.

Here are the latest minutes from the Community Consultative Committee meeting for your information.

 Minutes of Inglenook Exploration Project Community Consultative Committee Meeting 
Date and time: Thursday 18/10/2012, 9:30am 
Location:InglenookProjectOffice,"SpringPark",RunningStream Present 
Margaret MacDonald-Hill (MMH) 
Sarah Jardine (SJ) 
Esme Martens (EM) 
Jolieske Lips (JL) Neva Lilley (NL) 
Mitchell Clapham 
Beau Preston (BP) John Sandona (JS) 
Greg Banning (GB) 
Pam Chadwick 

Welcome and Introduction 
The Chair opened the formal meeting at 9:30am and thanked all attendees for their participation and introduced Greg Banning, Regional Projects and Technical Support Manager. 
Declarations of Interest 
MMH noted her position as Independent Chair appointed by the Minister for Energy & Resources. She is also a Member of the Mine Subsidence Board & Minister’s Arbitration Panel. 
EM as owner of mineral rights in relation to the Inglenook EL, member of Charbon CCC. 
NL’s family as owners of mineral rights in relation to the Inglenook EL. 
The Chair introduced Greg Banning to the committee members as a new Centennial Coal representative of the committee due to organisational changes in Centennial Coal. 
Confirmation of previous minutes 
The minutes were confirmed as a true record by NL and seconded by MC. 
Business arising 
BP delivered a presentation on the Carbon Tax and made available hard copies of the presentation to those in attendance at the meeting. 
JS responded to NL’s previous enquiry about the disinfection of water bores. JS explained that the disinfection of water bores by the application of chlorine in a borehole is only a legal requirement for the cleaning of production bores for drinking water. Production bores for drinking water are not included in the Inglenook Exploration Project.The appplication of chlorine in a borehole on the project is by exception and as required to properly clean water monitoring boreholes of drilling additives that cannot be removed by conventional flushing techniques with water. Water monitoring borehole cleaning, including the application of chlorine, is implemented by the drilling crew under the constant supervision of the project hydrogeologist. During the cleaning process the hydrogeologist measures for balanced acidity/alkalinity, electrical conductivity and colour of the water flushing from the hole. The hydrogeologist determines the borehole is clean once the readings have stabilised and the water flushing from the hole is visually clear. Water monitoring equipment is then installed in the cleaned borehole. 

November 5, 2012


Coal dust causes serious health problems in communities located near open cut coal mines. That same dust pollutes rain water supplies causing yet more health problems. And then there is the impact of mining on people's mental health.

There have been many studies worldwide which have made many more alarming health 'discoveries' but no comparable comprehensive medical research has been undertaken or published here in Australia, which is a gross oversight considering we are the world's largest exporter of coal.

But now we have a report compiled by the Health and Sustainability Unit at Sydney University, commissioned by the melbourne-based Beyond Zero Emissions group. BZE is an independent, not-for-profit, volunteer-run organisation looking at ways in which Australia can kick the carbon habit and go coal turkey.

The purpose of the report is to provide an objective overview of the available international and local evidence from the health and medical literature about the health effects and social justice impacts of coal mining on local communities and to discuss and relate these issues to the Hunter Region of New South Wales. It provides a stark warning for our own community in the push to transition it from a farming-based economy to one centered on coal mining.

Here is a link to the report:

Cobbora Coal Project

RSWUA opposes the Cobbora Coal Project and urges you to write a submission to the NSW Department of Planning voicing your concerns. 

Here is a guide to help with your submission provided by the Mudgee District Environment Group (

Submission Guide
Objection to Cobbora Coal Project – (state owned coal mine proposal)
Application No: 10_0001

Deadline:  Friday 16 November 2012
Address:                   Major Planning Assessments
                                    Department of Planning and Infrastructure
                                    GPO Box 39
                                    Sydney 2001

Label your submission as an objection, include your name, address and contact details

Key Points of Objection:
1.     Cobbora Coal project is inappropriate investment of $3.4b of NSW taxpayers money
2.     The project justification is based on outdated electricity demand and coal price projections
3.     The project will generate additional greenhouse gas emissions, approx 25m tonnes per year, conflicting with State and Federal policy to reduce climate change impacts

4.     The large open cut mine will disturb approx 47km2 of land with important high conservation and agricultural value

5.     The project will destroy 1,867ha of significant woodland providing habitat for 39 threatened species, including nationally listed endangered species

6.     The project will destroy significant Aboriginal cultural heritage sites
7.     The NSW Government has purchased 68 of 90 properties in the affected area. The loss of farming community and broadscale food production has not been adequately assessed.

8.     The project will use a large amount of water from the Cudgegong River and compete with the Mudgee wine and tourism industry for water supply during drought conditions

9.     Up to 10 coal trains a day will pass through Gulgong to Ulan, Wollar, Bylong and additional export product could be sent through Mudgee in the future.

Cobbora Coal project is proposed in central west NSW north-west of Mudgee and Gulgong.
It is a state-owned coal mining project tied to the sale of the power stations. It will lock NSW into coal-fired electricity generation until at least 2036.
The proposal is to mine 20mtpa (million tonnes per annum) to produce 12mtpa of usable coal over 21 years – it is extremely poor quality product with high ash content. The project aims to provide cheap domestic coal to power stations in the Upper Hunter and Central Coast.

The justification for the project is based on incorrect projections of demand for coal-fired electricity over the next 10 years. Demand has dropped significantly since this project was proposed.

The price of black coal on the export market has also dropped below the projections used to justify the need to source cheaper coal for domestic use.

 The mine will cost the NSW tax payer approx $3.4b and will be run at a loss. It is a direct subsidy to power generators in NSW.  The argument for continued coal-fired electricity in comparison to the long-term benefits of renewable energy sources has not been made. Tax payer’s money would be better invested in renewable energy sources.

Towns and properties along the coal chain will be impacted by additional noise and dust from increased coal train movements.

The open cut coal mine has a very large footprint and will cause major environmental impacts on woodland habitat as well as groundwater and surface water sources and loss of at least 79 Aboriginal cultural heritage sites.

The clearing of 1,867ha woodland habitat will impact on species listed for national protection: eg Grassy Box Woodland; endangered and vulnerable plants, including 100% loss of the local population of Tylophora linearis , endangered bird species  including australasian bittern, malleefowl, regent honeyeater, superb parrot; and vulnerable microbat species - southern long-eared bat, large-eared pied bat

Also a large number of threatened woodland birds protected under the NSW Threatened Species Act were recorded in the area of impact - brown treecreeper, diamond firetail, glossy black-cockatoo, grey-crowned babbler, hooded robin, speckled warbler, varied sittella, masked owl, barking owl, powerful owl.

The mine will need to use up to 3,700 ML (million litres) of water per year from surface water and groundwater interception. The use of high security licenced water from the Cudgegong River will threaten the water security of the Mudgee region wine and tourism industries. It could also threaten the long –term security of urban water supply from Windamere Dam.

The cost benefit analysis for the project has not taken into account the social disruption; competition for workforce with other industries, particularly the agricultural industry across western NSW; or the costs of major infrastructure upgrades, particularly rail lines, to accommodate additional coal transport.

For more detailed information go to above web address.

October 22, 2012

Notice of General Meeting

3pm Sunday Nov 4, Running Stream Hall
Dear Members,
We wish to advise you that, due to an administrative error, we need to call a general
meeting in order to once again formally adopt the new model constitution, a copy of which
can be found at:
We look forward to your understanding in this matter. We will also have a special
presentation by Mitchell Clapham, from the NSW Farmer’s Association, on the process
used in mediation/arbitration so we hope that you will be able to join us.
Best wishes,
Your Committee.
1. Special Resolution ‐ Adoption of Model Constitution
a) The Committee recommends to the members at a General Meeting that the following
Special Resolution be adopted:
That Running Stream Water Users Association adopt the Model Constitution
prepared by the Dept of Fair Trading to replace the present Rules.
Explanatory Notes
Over two years ago the legislation covering incorporated associations changed. Instead of
Model Rules, there is now a Model Constitution. Currently RSWUA is operating under the old
Model Rules, with some changes. If we adopt the Model Constitution it means if there are any
legislative changes, our constitution is automatically updated and therefore we are always
compliant with the legislation. This means one less administrative detail for your committee to
keep tabs on. The Model Constitution is essentially the same as the old Model Rules. However
it would mean the following changes:
1. Proxy voting is no longer allowed.
2. Decrease in the number of committee members. In our old Model Rules we had a
committee of 12. The Model Constitution has a committee of seven with four Office Bearers as
they are now called. These are President, Vice‐President, Secretary and Treasurer. However
there is provision to have as many sub‐committees (appointed by the committee) as we want.
This would therefore allow more members to be involved in the running of the association
should we have a sudden rush of enthusiasm from our members wanting to be on the
committee. In addition, a person with special expertise could be invited to attend specific
committee meetings in an advisory capacity.
3. Our financial year will have to run with the fiscal year i.e. from 1 July to 30 June.

President's Report

It is about 18 months since my last report and not a lot has changed regarding the threat to our
water. But there has been a most embarrassing administrative glitch. Last September we voted to
adopt the new model constitution. However, as the form to advise Dept of Fair Trading of the
decision was never sent, that decision is now void and we have to do it all over again, which we
will do at our next meeting at 3pm on November 4 at the Running Stream Hall. Fair Trading was
very understanding and as we are such a small organisation they are not worried.
On a more positive note, your Association has been active in a number of ways:
1. March 2011 – The Puggles Club was launched. Its purpose is to engage young people in
learning about how important running streams are, not just for us humans but for all living
creatures, and to encourage them join us in our mission to protect our precious water. And we
have held two excursions with young members.
2. We have participated in a number of rallies to tell the government that food and water is more
important than coal. The first was the Coal and Coal Seam Gas Rally in Sydney in March 2011.
The second was a rally in May 2012 organised by the NSW Farmers Association in response to
the draft Land Use Strategy outside Parliament House in Sydney
3. March 2012 – Mudgee Mining the wHole Story (a two-day educational event organised by 7
local community action groups including RSWUA)
5. July 2012 –presence at combined community action group stall at Mudgee Small Farm Field
Days where new RSWUA membership postcard was distributed.
We continue to write submissions to the government on behalf of our members. Major submissions
we have made are:
1. April 2011 – NSW Coal and Coal Seam Gas Draft Strategy
2. Sept 2011 – National Food Policy
3. April 2012 2011 - Draft Strategic Regional Land Use Policy
4. July 2012 – draft Aquifer Interference Policy
We also urge you to write your own letters. You have the power to influence government and I
plead with you all to please take a half hour and put pen to paper whenever we ask. We try to
make it as easy as possible by giving you all the points to make, but you need to write your own
personal introductory paragraph.
Early last year (March 2011) Centennial presented their Water Census Report. It is not the full
hydrogeological study that we continue to press for but it is a start. In July 2011 a Drill Rig open
day was held. However by the time drilling finally commenced in April 2012 Centennial had
changed the type of drill rig. In June 2012 they held a series of Drilling Demonstration Days.
The Inglenook CCC has met seven times so far. I remind members that if there are issues they
would like raised at those meetings, don’t hesitate to contact myself or the other committee
members. Minutes of the meeting are on Centennial’s website:
At the last CCC meeting we were given copies of the Review of Environmental Factors and I
encourage members, particularly those with some scientific training, to look at this and ensure it is
adequate. A copy can be found here on Centennial’s website:
You can also pick up a hard copy from their office at Spring Park (opposite Running Stream Hall)
or by phoning them on 6358 8340.
We also looked at some core samples and had the term “ash content” explained. There are two
types of ash: one appears as a distinct band in the coal; these were formed from when there was a
lot of volcanic activity and clouds of ash settled forming bands within the coal seam. These are
fairly easily removed in the washing process through flotation. The other type of ash is embedded
within the coal itself. It comes from ash being mixed up within the vegetation as it is laid down and
this is harder to remove.
Rumours are flying around regarding the quality of the coal resource at Mt Viincent. In
conversation with one of our members, it was pointed out that while coal from the area might be
high in ash it is low in impurities and could be combined with coal from another region such as
Indonesia where it is low in ash, but high in impurities to make an acceptable blend. We have to
remember we are now dealing with an international company.
So we wrote to Centennial to clarify. Here is their response :
“At this early stage of the project no comment can be factually made about coal quality from the
Inglenook Exploration Project due to the low number of samples and incomplete analysis of
samples obtained. Appropriate comment can be made once a definitive understanding of the entire
coal resource is achieved through analysis and interpretation of all coal samples. Assessment of
the coal resource will accord with requirements of the Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC) and
the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). Centennial Coal is committed to communicate project
information relevant to the community through the CCC and other communication methods”.
I also asked, again, how Centennial was going to compensate landholders and their neighbours
for loss of water due to their activities. Again the response was they would take that question on
notice, but this time we are supposed to get an answer at the next CCC meeting in October.
Access Agreements
As you know, drilling has commenced, with about nine landholders having signed agreements.
Negotiations with the “Denman Group” as six of us have been dubbed have ground to a halt, with
Centennial advising they will now take it to arbitration, and they have started with one of the group
(interestingly not one of the two with whom they began negotiations). However that person then
went on holidays for a month, so we haven’t heard where it is up to.
In conclusion I encourage you all not to give up hope; coal is a twentieth century source of power.
Keep writing to the government urging it to move into the twenty first century, support jobs in
renewable resources and above all think of the future and ensure our good quality land retains its
water resources and so continues to grow food for our growing population in the centuries to come.
Jolieske Lips, September 2012

At the September AGM there was a committee reshuffle and new members were elected.
Your new committee is as follows:
President Nell Schofield
Vice President Guy Sim
Secretary Jolieske Lips
Treasurer David Drinkwater
Committee members Christine Maloney, Fiona Sim, Prudie Woods, Pam Chadwick
Congratulations to all our new committee members and deepest thanks to our former
committee members, especially Suzy Flowers for her dedication and commitment to the
preservation of our shared water resource. We are delighted to have Jolieske Lips remain
with us as Secretary and acknowledge her invaluable work as President.
We’d also like to extend a very special thank you to Craig Shaw, Secretary of the Bylong
Valley Protection Alliance for his fascinating presentation at our AGM. Entitled
‘UnderEddie’, his talk took members on a guided tour of the dark underbelly of the coal
mining business in the Bylong Valley by Eddie Obied and his associates. There are many
suspicious interconnections between ‘colourful identities’ and we await the outcome of the
ICAC enquiries with interest. If you’d like to keep up to date with developments in Bylong
Valley you can join the BVPA mailing list at
And a quick reminder for those members who haven’t yet paid your membership for 2012, it
would be great if you would renew as soon as possible so that our new Treasurer can update
the books. Either fill in the attached form and post it to us with your cheque or make a direct
deposit and send an email to us at advising that you have
done so.
Many thanks for your support and we look forward to seeing you at our next meeting for a
special presentation by Mitchell Clapham from the NSW Farmers Association.
3pm, Nov 4 2012
Running Stream Hall

Big Plans for NSW Development

The NSW Planning Green Paper has caused much concern among community groups, over 50 of which have now banded together under the umbrella of the Better Planning Network

Their main concern is the focus on "economic development and competitiveness" over the  interests of residents and rate payers.

Here is an article by Wendy Bacon detailing the background to the group's formation and explaining how the notorious Eddie Obeid fits into the picture:

We will be voting on whether to join this group at our next meeting on Nov 4 so come along and have your say!

August 26, 2012


7.30 pm Thursday 30 August Rylstone Memorial Hall

Come and meet the candidates in the upcoming council elections

Candidates have been invited to give a brief talk about their platform and policies, and how they will pursue these if they win office.

Brief talks will be followed by a Q&A session.
Gold coin donations at the door will go to Rylstone Hospital Auxiliary and ADA Cottage.
Refreshments will be provided by Rylstone Branch of the CWA.
‘Meet the Candidates’ is a community initiative supported by Bylong Valley Protection Alliance, Central West Renewable Energy Group, Mid Western Community Action Network, NSW Farmers (Rylstone Branch), Running Stream Water Users Association, Rylstone Artisan and Producers Association, Rylstone and District Historical Society, Rylstone District Environment Society, Rylstone Kandos Business & Tourism and Rylstone Kandos Show Society.
Council elections will be held on Saturday 8 September 2012.

August 10, 2012

July 31, 2012

Coalpac Consolidation Unacceptable

Authority says Coalpac’s proposal too noisy for residents
After carefully reviewing documents, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has stated it cannot
support the Coalpac Consolidation Project, proposed by Coalpac Pty Ltd, due to the unacceptable
noise impacts it will have upon residents.
The NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure called on the EPA to review the related
Environmental Assessment for the Project and stated within its submission:
(the EPA) cannot support the project as is currently proposed for the following reason:
1. The EPA considers that the potential for unacceptable noise impacts upon both rural
residents and the residents of Cullen Bullen is too great based on the assumptions in the noise
modelling of the proposed 24 hours a day/7 days a week operations.
“Cullen Bullen residents have been repeatedly told by Coalpac Pty Ltd that it holds the interests of the
residents in the highest regard and yet has laid down a proposal that threatens their livelihood,” says
Justin McKee for the Blue Mountains Conservation Society.
The EPA’s submission also noted:
Even with all the extensive noise mitigation in place the noise modelling predicts adverse
impacts at 9 locations during the day and 36 residential receivers at night.
“Coalpac ashamedly told residents in a public meeting earlier this year that their lifestyle would not be
compromised and this project was good for the town.”
In further outlining its position, the EPA wrote:
The EPA has concerns with the proponent’s commitment and ability to fully and effectively
implement the required noise mitigation measures based on previous experience at the site.
“Coalpac Pty Ltd has a history of being unreliable on mitigating noise issues in the past. It is
encouraging to see the EPA standing firm against repeat offenders within the mining industry.”
The cost implications for the presented mitigation (Section 4.4) would be extensive; no cost
estimates and no timetable have been put forward for mitigation implementation.
“The owners of Coalpac have been trying to sell the company since October 2010. The sale would be
gigantically more profitable if this project is approved. Comments from the EPA highlight that Coalpac’s
focus is on profit and not the lives of people living in Cullen Bullen,” concludes Mr McKee.
Media Contacts: Justin McKee 0404 824 020 Link to EPA submission:

July 2, 2012


Forget the Carbon Tax and the family roast, the Association recently got out the calculator to find out  what impact the Charbon Coal Mine is having on our atmosphere.

Charbon is an apt name for this carbon polluter -a high altitude mine located between Kandos and the tiny town of Clandulla on the western side of the Great Dividing Range. It was established over 50 years ago to fuel the local cement works but has now expanded greatly, producing 1.3 million tonnes of coal each year. Most of this is sent by train to Port Kembla for export to Asia.

When combusted, this releases 3.12 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere which is the equivalent of adding just over 2 million new cars to the roads!

If you add all the diesel fuel they use to dig up the coal, that's a lot of greenhouse gas pollution.

Now Centennial Coal will have to pay a tiny percentage of their profits to the government for the privilege of fouling our airways. It's doubtful that this will be a disincentive for them but whichever way, we are the ones who pay with a degraded environment.

drax power plant

July 1, 2012

Cobbora Mine Public Meeting

The proposed Cobbora mine has major impacts on water supply to the Mudgee region. Possible coal trains are another big concern. If you want to find out more about these issues come to the meeting this Thursday 5th July.

June 29, 2012

The (w)Hole Story video

If you missed the action in Mudgee when the Association along with six other community action groups joined forces to oppose any more mining in our region then don't fret! Click on the above link for a video documentation of the day.

And stay tuned for the next event currently being organised by volunteers with The (w)Hole Story.

June 26, 2012

The Sky Is Pink

Josh fox has released a short follow up film to his award winning 'Gasland' and you can view it here:

The Sky Is Pink

It's all about the water.

June 3, 2012

Lue Action Group Newsletter – Blackmans Gully Mess & More

LAg Newsletter Issue 2 – Blackmans Gully Mess & More

Read all about it here (PDFDownload: LAg Newsletter Issue 2):
Update on impact of Kingsgate mine exploration on local environment, more fact about lead impact on health and environment, invitation to public meeting and more…
Click on text to enlarge

May 30, 2012

King Coal Dethroned

We live in hope! The statistics in this article are encouraging anyway - worth a read. If the statistics are correct (and sources quoted appear reliable) it also shows just how much influence the media can have on perceptions and how you can't rely on (some) newspapers as your only source of information.

May 29, 2012

Lodge a submission objecting to the Coalpac Consoldation Project.

Time is running out ! 

The cut off date is Friday 1st June 2012. 
It's very important we get hundreds if not thousands of individual submissions in on this issue and influence the decision making process. So tell everyone you know to invest five minutes to help you save a beautiful part of the iconic Gardens of Stone. 
Here's what to do. 
Fill out the form half way down this page with your personal information:
In the box that has the heading 'submission' you need to include a statement saying that you object to the proposal and some reasons why. Here's an example: 
Re: Coalpac Consolidation Project: Application No: 10_0178

I support the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage's wish to add the Ben Bullen State Forest to the conservation reserve system as a matter of priority; it is an area with outstanding natural values.

I object to the Coalpac Consolidation Project entirely for the following reasons: 

• Rehabilitation of open-cut coal mines is incapable of restoring the original biodiversity and geodiversity of the Gardens of Stone Reserve Proposal. 

• This mine would destroy the habitat of over 400 native plant species.

• Our iconic lyrebird uses the sides of pagodas in this area to nest and raise its young. Mining will completely remove its food habitats in the valley below.

• The community will be locked out from a very large part of public land for at least 21 years. I expect to be able to access public land freely. 
The NSW Government would effectively be allowing the privatization and liquidation of public land if it approves this proposal.

• If approved, the mine would scalp all biodiversity from hundreds of hectares of public land within the Ben Bullen State Forest.

• The project proposes to kill 19,200 vulnerable Eucalyptus cannonii, trees and this is unacceptable.

• The project is likely to produce acid mine drainage that will impact on local streams for many decades. It may also produce elevated levels of heavy metals that will also kill aquatic life. This is occurring right now with one of Coalpac's old mines, the Canyon Colliery Mine, which is contaminating streams with unsafe levels of zinc and nikel impacting the Heritage-listed Grose Valley. 

• Coalpac has put forward a biodiversity offset package that is inadequate. Coalpac cannot replace critically endangered habitat and open-cut mining should avoid these rare environments. 

• This mine would destroy the habitat of 35 mammal species, 15 of which are listed under the EPBC Act. 

• Habitats for 12 bird species threatened under the EPBC Act including the Regent Honeyeater, Tiger Quoll and Powerful Owl will be completely removed.

• There will be increased threats to the health of children attending Cullen Bullen Public School because of the open-cut mining nearby.

• A minimum 5km buffer zone excluding open-cut mining should be established around the town of Cullen Bullen to protect its social values and amenity.
More suggestions for bullet points can be found here: 
Thank you for your time and contribution to to this important campaign. 
Please do not hesistate to contact me with any questions directly to help you get your submission lodged:
0404 824 020
Kind Regards
Justin McKee
Blue Mountains Conservation Society
M: 0404 824 020