Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Colong Foundation Peace Plan

MEDIA RELEASE

“Colong Foundation’s peace plan[1] is still on the table but action is needed,” Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness said. 

Lithgow’s potential tourism industry will be stifled if the outstanding heritage values in the surrounding Gardens of Stone region suffer more decades of damage.  Like climate change, this likely scenario can still be avoided.

“In 1994 the Colong Foundation for Wilderness proposed a Gardens of Stone state conservation area (SCA) over public forests with coal mining leases around Lithgow in the western Blue Mountains.  Such reserves allow for environmentally responsible coal mining,” said Mr Muir.

“For well over twenty years various Lithgow councils, the coal and power industries, and their union supporters have promoted fear of a Gardens of Stone reserve.  A big new Gardens of Stone reserve would attract visitors to Lithgow,” he said.

“SCAs have worked well on the Illawarra where I proposed the Garawarra State Conservation Area in 1986 over public land that was part of the Metropolitan Colliery,” Mr Muir said.

“Wollongong City Council called a public meeting in 1986 regarding this reserve proposal and by 1988 it was reserved with the support of the local Helensburgh community and council.  Were any mining jobs lost at the Metropolitan mine? Not one”, said Mr Muir.

“Centennial Coal and EnergyAustralia need to acknowledge that a Gardens of Stone reserve does not stand in the way of responsible underground coal mining in public forests when it protects outstanding heritage values and essential drinking water resources”, Mr Muir said. 

“Conservationists should not be demonised for seeking protection for the 100 national and internationally significant heritage values in the proposed Gardens of Stone reserve that would enable Lithgow to enjoy a bright future in tourism”, said Mr Muir.

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 0412 791 404 (mob)
See also Gardens of Stone Alliance -
NSW Gov. urged to protect Gardens of Stone to boost Lithgow's tourism economy, media alert 3 Oct 2017.

 

[1] A 39,000 hectare Gardens of Stone State Conservation Area.