Shenhua documents show Coalition backing fast-track of project

15 June 2011 – media release

Shenhua documents show Coalition backing ‘fast-track’ of project

Documents released to the Parliament yesterday indicate that senior members of the O’Farrell Government are backing the controversial Shenhua Watermark coal project near Gunnedah and want it fast tracked. Greens MP and mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham has called on the Government to come clean with the Liverpool Plains community about what promises have been made to Shenhua.

An email released as part of the documents called upon by the Parliament says: “That the Deputy Premier believes the project is of State significant (sic) and is a high priority and in light of this should be progressed along the assessment path as quickly as possible.”

Mr Buckingham said, “The email indicates that National’s leader and Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner has fully backed the Shenhua proposal and called for the assessment of the project to be fast-tracked.

“This is an outrageous position given the promises through the election campaign to give real consideration for the agricultural impacts of coal mining across NSW.

“The Government’s Strategic Regional Landuse Policy has fallen at the first hurdle with the Coalition seemingly prepared to back the project regardless of it impacts.

“There is confusion and concern in the community as to where the Shenhua Watermark coal project is up to and the discovery of these documents will only serve to raise further alarm.

“The document shows the highest level of intervention by the government in seeking to progress this project.

“The true power of coal in this state is on display here and that should ring alarm bells for communities across the state, particularly in the Hunter Valley, Gunnedah Basin and the Southern Highlands.

“It makes a mockery of the new Strategic Regional Landuse Policy and shows that the Government cannot be trusted to put the interests of communities above those of multinational mining companies, Mr Buckingham said.

Contact: Max Phillips (02) 9230 2202  or  0419 444 916

Read the email.

On ABC Radio (15 June 2011)

Listen to Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham

Listen to Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner

Chairman of The Caroona Coal Action Group Sandy Bloomfield

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