What will we do when there’s a knock on our door and the man from Arrow Energy says, ‘I’m here to exercise our mining rights’? Are we prepared for the onslaught of coal-seam gas or open-cut coal mining? It’s written in our new local environmental plan as a permitted use, so it could happen any day.
How prepared were the people of Wollar when they suddenly found a mining company on their doorstep?
Wollar was established in the 1870s and was a small village of 400 inhabitants 50km northeast of Mudgee. The whole town and surrounding farmland has been sold to an American mining conglomerate – people’s homes, local service station, cafe – all acquired by Peabody Energy of the USA (on the government’s recommendation to reduce residential conflict) and the area is being transformed into an open-cut coal mine covering 300 square kilometres.
Coal is being dug out of the ground and loaded onto trains that are 1.2km long and take 15 minutes to pass a level crossing, with the noise shadow cast 10km either side of the line. The trains arrive in Newcastle where the coal is loaded onto ships and is exported to China, Korea, Malaysia.
Goodbye, rural Australia! Our fossil fuel is being exported to run overseas power stations, thus increasing the world’s carbon footprint, yet here we are about to be penalised with an expensive carbon tax.
I invite you to look up the website for Mudgee, an area famed for its heritage buildings, fine accommodation and wineries, and then look up Wollar just 50km away; it says, ‘the tiny farming town of Wollar may not be the first in Australia to be wiped off the map by foreign mining interests and sadly, probably may not be the last’. The residents even held a wake in Wollar to farewell their town.
Hang in there, people, keep those anti-mining protests going, because there’s a coal seam evident at Boulders Beach!