Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Springvale's determination PAC must convene a second public hearing

“In May 2015 Planning Minister Rob Stokes* signalled that the community will be given a greater chance to "test the decision" on major mining proposals.  In line with the Minister’s decision, there should be another public hearing convened for the Springvale determination Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) to investigate an apparent error in the review assessment”, said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“Last week the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) reviewing the Springvale mine-expansion proposal recommended adaptive management be undertaken to help protect the remaining 29 undamaged swamps on Newnes Plateau#.  According to Department of Planning and Environment (DPE), however, such adaptive management cannot require further environmental protection for these swamps as the PAC has proposed”, he said.  

“Last Friday the DPE executives explained to environment groups that no additional environmental protection measures can be required once a mine’s development consent is issued”, Mr Muir said

“The inflexibility of planning consents has led to ludicrous situations, such as monitoring longwall-related cliff falls for decades without additional cliff protection in response to this on-going damage.  This planning blunder is about to be repeated for the nationally endangered upland swamps on Newnes Plateau, unless the Springvale proposal is further tested as Minister Stokes has stated”, he said.

The PAC’s adaptive management recommendation will not protect heritage listed swamps from damage by Centennial Coal’s Springvale mine-expansion”, said Mr Muir.

The review PAC’s recommendations must be adjusted and another public hearing is necessary,” said Mr Muir.

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 0412 791 404 (mob)

*New Planning Minister Rob Stokes signals overhaul of CSG, coal mining projects, Sydney Morning Herald, 2 May 2015, http://www.smh.com.au/environment/new-planning-minister-rob-stokes-signals-overhaul-of-csg-coal-mining-projects-20150501-1mxhxk.html

#Springvale PAC, pg 25, section 3.3.6 Adaptive Management, and Recommendation 13, pg 30 http://www.pac.nsw.gov.au/Projects/tabid/77/ctl/viewreview/mid/462/pac/470/view/readonly/myctl/rev/Default.aspx

See also www.colongwilderness.org.au/news/2015/perversion-national-heritage-protection