7.8 C
Byron Shire
May 17, 2021

Shenhua coal mine challenged over koala impact

Latest News

Bluesfest announces October dates for 2021 festival

After two disappointing cancelations of their event, Bluesfest has announced that they will hold the 2021 festival over the...

Other News

Save Broken Head

Jan Barham, Broken Head Broken Head is precious but fragile. Again, it’s under threat and it’s urgent to act now....

Secret footage from Manus detention centre to be screened in Lismore

A thirteen-minute award-winning documentary based on footage secretly filmed inside Australia’s former detention centre on Manus Island is to be screened in Lismore Thursday night.

Humans suck

Hannah Grace, Ocean Shores I heard on the local news late this afternoon (April 20) that a 370kg tuna ...

Interview with Nick Sergi, producer of the Byron Music Festival

Nick Sergi, producer of the Byron Music Festival talks to The Echo.

Ageism alive and well

Margaret Boshier, St Ives I have been spending time in the ocean since before I could walk; I grew up...

Locals question placing homes in areas of inundation risk

It is where the community fought off Club Med and it is once again in the spotlight as the current owners, Elements, are seeking to have the zoning of the environmentally sensitive area in Bayshore Drive changed from tourism to residential

Protesters called for no further expansion of coal and coal seam gas outside the Gunnedah Basin Coal and Energy Conference held in Newcastle on June 25, 2012. Photo Kate Ausburn www.flickr.com/photos/treslola
Protesters called for no further expansion of coal and coal seam gas outside the Gunnedah Basin Coal and Energy Conference held in Newcastle on June 25, 2012. Photo Kate Ausburn www.flickr.com/photos/treslola

A local community group has launched a legal challenge in the NSW Land and Environment Court to the approval of Chinese mining company Shenhua’s open cut coal mine on the Liverpool Plains in north-western NSW, one of Australia’s most productive farming areas.

The Upper Mooki Landcare group, represented by EDO NSW, argues the NSW government approval failed to properly consider whether the mine was likely to significantly affect koalas, a threatened species, as required under the law. If the mine goes ahead it will clear 847 hectares of koala habitat.

EDO NSW principal solicitor Sue Higginson said the group will argue that the NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC), which approved the mine on behalf of the minister for planning, failed to assess whether the mine would place a viable local population of Koalas at risk of extinction, as required by NSW planning laws. 

Koalas are currently listed as vulnerable to extinction in NSW under state and federal law after numbers dropped a third over the past 20 years. This means they are facing a high risk of extinction in NSW in the medium-term future.

The PAC stated: ‘The [Gunnedah koala] population has reduced significantly, as a result of droughts and heatwaves, with the estimated reduction of up to 70% since 2009.’

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, in its submission to the mine assessment process, stated: ‘The assessment of significance [impacts] for the koala is totally inadequate. No details of the actual koala population to be impacted upon, nor what impact the project will have on the population is provided.’

The plan for managing the impact of clearing 847ha of the koala habitat noted in the PAC’s report is that ‘the animals will be encouraged to naturally move away from the habitat that is being cleared. If the animals do not naturally move, then a translocation plan will be implemented.’

There was evidence before the PAC that translocation programs have resulted in significantly high mortality rates. 

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. It is a very small margin of error for the koala. They need us to protect them, now, before the very robust onslaught of their habitat is destroyed forever.
    Small pockets of conservation are for small minded people. The unique animals of Australia need unique protections. Just ask the tourists at Koala Park in Sydney. Just ask the greater general public of Australia.
    Remove more essential habitat for NSW Koalas or push it.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Power outage in Byron Shire

Power supply company Essential Energy says that approximately 1,780 homes and businesses were without supply this morning.

Filming of Byron Baes begins with no indigenous consultation

Filming of the Netflix series Byron Baes has reportedly commenced without any effort made by the show's production company – Eureka Productions – to consult with local indigenous groups or the local Council.

Byron Comedy Festival launched with a laugh

At a hilarious sold-out launch of the Byron Comedy Festival, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki had the entire Byron Bay Surf Club giggling last night

School Strike for Climate next Friday

Next Friday from 10am Byron Shire students will be demanding political action on the climate emergency in what they and their supporters say is our present, future and reality.