Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Planning Department report leaves door open on swamp protection at Springvale

Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness said that “the second assessment report by the Department of Planning and Environment handed down last Friday largely agrees with recommendations of Planning Assessment Commission regarding approval of the Springvale mine extension.  Department has also flagged consideration of Springvale mine water transfer to Mt Piper and an independent expert panel will advise on the mine extraction plan regarding the nationally threatened upland swamps.”

“Expansion of the advisory role of the independent monitoring panel will ensure a greater focus on avoidance and minimisation of swamp impacts and adaptive management measures.  Through monitoring, environment groups will ensure Centennial Coal does not get away with ruining the swamps on Newnes Plateau.  If the swamp damage continues, as we expect it will, the environment groups will ensure decision makers do not allow continued undermining of these swamps,” Mr Muir said.

“Centennial Coal has of course objected to these new proposed additional conditions.  Centennial fears further scrutiny because its current mine plan will damage swamps”, said Mr Muir.

“The amount of coal under the 29 nationally endangered swamps is unimportant in this climate changing world.  The conservation of national heritage listed swamps must win out of conservation of coal resource in the mine approval area.  The current mining proposal inverts these priorities putting coal before swamp conservation and this is out of sync with public opinion and doomed to failure,” he said.

“The independent expert panel will find that longwall mining so damages nationally listed swamps that it will recommend the swamps not be undermined”, Mr Muir said. 

“Sunnyside East Swamp is dry, but used to be wet.  Even Centennial reports state that the lower section of Sunnyside East was water logged. Centennial Coal claim its dryness is to do with the long term rainfall, but the “reference” swamps are wet.  The further investigations will vindicate the Colong Foundation, and lead to swamp protection zones.

Mine operations can avoid swamps, as evidenced by Sunnyside Swamp.  This National Heritage can be protected, and so the swamps must be protected”, said Mr Muir.

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