EDO NSW Submission on amendments to the Mining SEPP

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EDO NSW Submission on amendments to the Mining SEPP

Postby HVPA_research » Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:23 am

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Link to this page: http://forum.huntervalleyprotectionalliance.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=653

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Submission on amendments to the Mining SEPP ␣ State Environmental Planning Policy (Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industries) Amendment (Resource Significance) 2013
prepared by EDO NSW August 2013


It is generally believed that the NSW Government is attempting these legislative changes in response to recent Land and Environmental Court appeal involving Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association and Rio Tinto Warkworth Mine expansion. This excellent EDO document explains the issues and should be studied in full and in a great detail. Here we provide only preview of the sections directly relevant to the residents of the Bulga Broke valley.

First, the Departmental aims noted above are pertinent in the context of recent comments by the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) in its February 2012 approval of the Warkworth mine expansion, near the Hunter Valley village of Bulga. The PAC members observed in their report:

Submissions from community organisations, individuals and Singleton Council all raised the issue of the negative impact of open-cut mining on the viability of rural communities generally and specifically on the risks to Bulga village posed by the proposed project.

A number of rural communities have been faced with this situation in the past. In almost all cases the mines have been approved and the communities have either been radically altered in character or become non-viable. With the current price of coal this outcome is almost inevitable when the overall economic benefits of the mines are balanced against local community impacts. It appears that it is only if there are wider negative implications from the mining proposal that refusal becomes a possibility. If this is to change then NSW will need to develop a clear policy position that provides further guidance to decision-makers as to how social impacts on rural villages are to be balanced in the approval process for coal mines.12


Faced with this dilemma, and exercising existing decision-making powers, the PAC went on to approve the Warkworth mine extension. In April 2013 following a challenge by a local residents' group, the Land and Environment Court overturned this approval due to its significant adverse impacts on biodiversity, and the adverse noise, dust and social impacts.13 The mining company and the Planning Department are now appealing the Court's decision.
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