Saturday, May 21, 2016

Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association Statement

Kevin Taggart (Wonnarua traditional custodian) and John Krey (Bulga resident) give Premier Mike Baird a time capsule of local items including wine and honey
Kevin Taggart (Wonnarua traditional custodian) and John Krey (Bulga resident) give Premier Mike Baird a time capsule of local items including wine and honey  (continued below)
After six and a half years and two successes in the courts the BMBA has discontinued its legal proceedings that were challenging the November 2015 decision by the Planning and Assessment Commission to approve Rio Tinto's Warkworth mine expansion.
Our legal team EDO NSW has advised us that after inspecting all of the documents in the government offices provided as part of the proceedings our grounds of challenge to protect the uncertain future of the Warkworth Sands Woodlands would not be able to succeed in court.

EDO NSW advises that in their view the Planning Assessment Commission, following the advise of the NSW Department of Planning, did all that they were required to do under the law to protect the critically endangered Warkworth Sands Woodland, not withstanding the strong evidence that this mine will push it to extintion.

The collusion between the Department of Planning, the Office of Environment and Heritage, the Planning Assessment Commission and Rio Tinto, and teh inadequacy of the law in the face of such collusion, resulting in the destruction of the Warkworth Sands Woodland, the destruction of other endangered ecological communities, and the probable demise of the village of Bulga,  shows a complete disregard for the environment, health and the amenity of the residents surrounding the mine.

It is a travesty of justice that today we have received advice that the Warkworth Sands Woodland is now listed as critically endangered and yet the State Government has ordered its destruction.

The BMPA will now consider the options available to it including direct peaceful action.

Contact John Krey 0419 247 682

#Bulga, next #nswpol community victim to #mining despite 2 court victories #icac #ausvotes
— Lock the Gate (@LockTheGate) May 30, 2016

SAM 8391

An action at the Sydney Law Courts

Premier Mike Baird and Planning Minister Rob Stokes visited Bulga on Tuesday 28 April 2015 to make good a pre-election commitment to better understand the impacts of mining on local communities.

Baird and Stokes were joined by local MP Michael Johnsen before meeting locals at the Bulga community hall and then hearing a presentation from the Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association about local opposition to the expansion of Rio Tinto's nearby Mt Thorley Warkworth coal mine.

Red wine – thriving Hunter wine tourism industry
Photo of critically endangered Regent Honeyeater – risks to environment
Beer mat from the Cockfighter Creek Tavern – our community
Bottle of water from Wollombi Brook - precious water supplies and Aboriginal land, culture and spirituality
Photo of St Marks Anglican Church (1856) – representing heritage
Sand from the Wollemi Brook - loss of Warkworth Sands Woodlands
Jar of local honey - loss of agriculture and produce.
The Bulga community, alongside the Wonnarua traditional custodians, have been fighting for over five years to stop a massive Warkworth coal mine expansion by Rio Tinto that will obliterate their town and countryside.
Both the Land and Environment Court, and the NSW Supreme Court (Court of Appeal), rejected Rio Tinto’s plans but in mid 2014 Rio Tinto resubmitted for approval an almost identical project to that already rejected by the courts.

Earlier, the NSW government joined Rio Tinto in its appeal and changed mining regulations to sidestep the Land & Environment Court’s judgment. As a result, the economic significance of a coal resource is now the principal consideration for mining development approvals, above impacts on water, biodiversity, amenity and other land uses.

On 5 March 2015 the Planning and Assessment Commission found the application to extend the coal mine was “capable of being approved”, despite having been knocked back twice already in court. One of its suggestions was that the town of Bulga be moved.

As a result of new laws, the Bulga community no longer has appeal rights to the Land and Environment Court on the merits of the decision - a right ICAC recommends to prevent corruption. The community now awaits a final Planning and Assessment Commission decision.

If the expansion goes ahead it will create severe noise and dust impacts for residents, destroy a critically endangered woodland and impact on 110 registered Aboriginal cultural sites. From Flickr

"It's an absolute travesty of justice, really, to have the government set about to change all the rules. It was impossible for us to win this case."

John Krey, Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association president
Read more at ABC HERE

Images @ Eminpee Fotography and Kate Ausburn Flickr

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