The Nature Conservation Council of NSW (NCC) will actively participate in the latest round of public hearings just announced for the Warkworth coal mine expansion to convince the Commissioners approving the project will cause long term and unacceptable damage to threatened species, water and human health.
This whole project should have been put in the bin after the Bulga community’s two court wins, with judges identifying significant impacts on biodiversity, including threatened species and endangered ecological communities.
The Baird Government has requested the Planning Assessment Commission hold an additional public hearing in to the expansion of Rio Tinto’s Warkworth coal mine in the Hunter Valley, hear Bulga. The hearing is to be held in Singleton on September 7.
This additional public hearing is welcome however the final decision will be what counts for Bulga and for our threatened environment.
NSW already faces a biodiversity crisis, close to 1000 plant and animal species are facing extinction. If the mine gets the go-ahead entire ecosystems such as the Warkworth Sands Woodland will be at extreme risk of extinction.
The mine site provides vital habitat for our native animals, including the critically endangered regent honeyeater, as well as the squirrel glider and stunning glossy black cockatoo.
Rio Tinto’s latest tilt at getting an expansion to its mine does not disguise the fact that this is essentially the same project which the Land and Environment Court and Supreme Court of NSW rejected.
This mine should have been off the cards years ago, our environment and the community of Bulga are still waiting for justice.
It is the time to close the door on this project once and for all.
Kate Smolski, Nature Conservation Council CEO