has condemned the National Party for their utter failure to protect the Liverpool Plains, after the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) reluctantly agreed to approve the Chinese Government owned Shenhua Watermark coal mine but urged the government to undertake more detailed work to protect the fertile black soils of the Liverpool Plains.
“This mine approval is a disaster for the Liverpool Plains, the community will be devastated and I am angry that politicians have failed. The mine threatens some of the most fertile soils and best water resources in Australia,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.
“The Nationals came to power four years ago promising to protect strategic agricultural land from the threat of mining, but this approval shows they have comprehensively failed. If the NSW Nationals and federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce can’t protect the most precious farming area in NSW and their political heartland, then what use are they?” he asked.
The language used by the PAC indicates this approval was reluctant and only in the context of current government policies and the Department of Planning’s recommendation.
The PAC says (page 20):
“The Commission emphasises that approval of this application in no way provides any form of endorsement of any proposal on any other part of the applicant’s exploration licence area. The Commission considers it will be important for the Government to undertake some more detailed work to identify and protect those highly valuable, fertile black soils where mining should be prohibited, as ongoing uncertainty for the surrounding community does impact on its ability to plan and invest for the future”.