Wollongong, New South Wales — Community group Protect Our Water Alliance is outraged at the NSW Planning Minister’s decision to grant South32’s Dendrobium Mine extension State Significant Infrastructure status. This backflip on the government’s own processes is unprecedented. It comes after the proposed 25 year expansion was rejected by the Independent Planning Commission in February, citing concerns about the impact of the expansion on the Greater Sydney Water Catchment.
Protect Our Water Alliance (POWA) spokesperson Dr Rada Germanos said “How can our community trust in government processes? Reclassifying this proposal as SSI limits the community’s access to critical information, and extinguishes the right to appeal a decision.”
“Serious concerns about this project from the scientific community, local residents, and Traditional Owners have been voiced. These concerns were listened to by the IPC when they rejected this proposal. This decision by Minister Stokes has betrayed the local community, as well as the government’s own processes.”
The proposed 25 year expansion of longwall mining would see over 8 billion litres of water annually lost from the Greater Sydney Water Catchment, and over 250 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent emitted over the life of the mine.
“We are only a month past the latest COP conference in Glasgow, and here we see the State Government again rolling out the red carpet for horrifically destructive mining companies. South32 will continue to rip and ship coal for private profits, while our communities suffer the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions and a trashed water catchment.”
“This area supplies water to 5 million people. Let’s talk about what is really significant here. We can’t drink coal. We shouldn’t be undermining this critical catchment.”
POWA is a grassroots community group committed to defending the water security of our region. For more details about this campaign visit – www.protectourwateralliance.org