You’ve all no doubt heard by now about Camp Gully Creek in the Royal National Park being choked with thick black coal sludge, released from the Metropolitan Mine near Helensburgh. Thankfully the NSW Environment Minister seems royally pissed off and says he will throw the book at the mine. Here’s hoping.
We’ve compiled a trip down memory lane of coal mine pollution events in the waterways of the Illawarra over the last 6 years or so:
August 2022 Camp Gully Creek — Peabody Metropolitan Mine
February 2022 Bellambi Creek — Wollongong Coal Russell Vale Colliery
Environmentalists say a $15,000 fine handed to coal miner Peabody in June for polluting a creek that leads into the Royal National Park is inadequate, and won’t protect the waterways as potential habitat for reintroduced platypus.
The penalty from the Environment Protection Authority was given to Peabody after its failure to properly maintain a dam at its Metropolitan colliery at Helensburgh allowed polluted water to run off into the Camp Gully Creek during heavy rains in January.
The creek flows into the Hacking River then into the national park.
Sutherland Shire Environment Centre spokesperson Dr Catherine Reynolds said the area was potential platypus habitat but members had been raising concerns about mine runoff for years.
“The Royal is one of Australia’s best loved national parks yet there is coal visible on the banks of the Hacking River,” she said.
Kaye Osborn of the Protect Our Water Alliance (POWA) said fines for mining pollution must be higher if they are to provide a genuine disincentive.