Illawarra Mercury: $15k fine for Helensburgh mine’s water pollution ‘not enough’ for environment

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.

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