The decision yesterday to approve the Maules Creek mine is a disgraceful failure of public policy, and proof that the NSW government has comprehensively failed to deliver protection for critical environmental assets, according to the Nature Conservation Council of NSW.
The NSW Planning Assessment Commission today approved the Whitehaven Coal proposal to carve a swathe through Leard State Forest in the state’s north west, opening the way for destruction of more than 1,800 hectares of high conservation value wildlife habitat.
‘This mine will demolish nearly two thousand hectares of publicly owned state forest, and destroy vitally important habitat for 26 threatened plant and animal species,’ said Pepe Clarke, CEO of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW.
‘Leard State Forest was mapped as high conservation value land in the government’s draft strategic regional land use plans, but this mapping was removed in the final plans, following sustained lobbying by the mining and coal seam gas industry.
‘This mine will leave a permanent void, hundreds of metres deep, and will have a lasting impact on irreplaceable groundwater resources.
‘The Maules Creek mine will stand forever as a scar on the landscape, and a permanent reminder of the O’Farrell Government’s comprehensive failure to deliver a balanced mining policy for our state.
‘It is unconscionable that the NSW government has permitted these important public lands to be destroyed for short-term profit. Our state forests should be managed in perpetuity for the benefit of the people of New South Wales.’