Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Mining Inquiry dumps on Catchment Protection

The Southern Coalfield Mining Inquiry Report released today is all about abandoning protection zones and adopting a more risk taking approach within our very essential drinking water catchments.

“Sydney’s water supplies are more at risk from this day on, unless the Iemma Government wakes up to the tactics of the coal mining industry,” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“Inquiry Chair, Prof Bruce Hebblewhite, a coal mining expert, has recommended Risk Management Zones for sensitive areas, like streams and swamps. And the unstated consequence is that the current Protection Zone approach has been dumped,” said Mr Muir.

“This abandonment of protection zones that work, for an on-going risk taking experiment to carry away a bit more coal mining under our water catchments is exactly what it says it is; a bigger risk with a bit more management”, he said.

“Nothing will be protected in the Risk Management Zones, where streams and swamps and cliffs are flagged for further assessment. The age old cop out for miners when facing adverse political circumstances is that ‘more studies must be done’ and it is used by miners to stop any impact to that all-important bottom line”, Mr Muir said.

“The coal mining industry has got what it wanted out of this Inquiry; a bit more dirty coal,” he said.

“We should not be taking more risks with our essential catchments. We should be ensuring these precious areas are kept safe for the generations to come. Minister Frank Sartor has let us all down by failing to see the catchment damaging consequences of this risk management approach,” Mr Muir said.

“No more will protection be assured for essential streams and swamps. Instead, the coal mining industry will mine under its risk management zones. Its experts will then cook up experimental rehabilitation strategies, and a litany of further damage to the streams, swamps and catchments must surely be the result. Premier Iemma must stop the mining industry increased risk taking agenda within our drinking water catchments,” he said.

Uphold mining protection zones for our essential water supplies Mr Iemma!” said Mr Muir.

For more information contact: Keith Muir , (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 0412 791 404 (ah)