This morning in budget estimates Greens NSW upper house MP and spokesperson for Mining and the Central Coast, Abigail Boyd, demanded answers from NSW Deputy Premier, and Minister for Regional NSW, Industry & Trade, John Barilaro, as to how his government would ensure the Central Coast water catchment would be protected if the Wallarah 2 coal mine goes ahead.
Abigail Boyd said “I asked the Deputy Premier if this government would step up and ensure that the drinking water for over 320,000 residents is protected by stopping the toxic Wallarah 2 coal mine.
“The short answer is that they won’t – the longer answer however, is that they can’t.
The Mining Act, due for review, is currently set up in such a way that it does not allow for the outright rejection of a mine when it risks a drinking water catchment. Asked about whether his government would be able, under the current act to step in and protect a community such as the Central Coast from contamination from a coal mine the Deputy Premier said no.
“The Wallarah 2 licence currently allows for 300 gigalitres of water to be removed from the Central Coast water catchment. To compensate, 300 megalitres of recycled mine water will be returned to the catchment each year.
“Not fresh water. Recycled mine water. Into our drinking water catchment.
“Despite knowing the risks posed to our community by this toxic coal mine, the Deputy Premier’s priority was having NSW as the mining investment centre of Australia.
“The truth is that this is a government that is wholly subservient to the mining industry.
“Wallarah 2 would be a disaster for our community – it will contaminate our drinking water, destroy our local environment and harm agriculture, tourism and the local economy.
“The Greens stand with the community: we oppose this toxic coal mine and will always put the community’s needs first.”