Government & Rio Tinto should respect Supreme Court’s decision

MEDIA RELEASE – 7 April 2014

Bulga John Krey

John Krey from the Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association addresses the media outside the Supreme Court of NSW

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham today congratulated the people of Bulga on their win in the Supreme Court, which dismissed an appeal brought by Rio Tinto and the NSW Government.  He called on both appellants to now respect the decision of the court by dropping plans to expand the Warkworth coal mine and removing the SEPP amendment that prioritised mining over the community or environment.

“The Greens congratulate the community of Bulga and the Environmental Defenders Office on a fantastic and important victory in the Supreme Court today,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“The original Land and Environment court judgement was a landmark ruling that restored some rationality and balance to mining development assessments and it is significant that the Supreme Court of NSW has supported the judgment.

“Rio Tinto should respect the court judgements and the community of Bulga and abandon their plans to expand the Warkworth coal mine.  The original expansion plans were economically justified by a high coal price that has since collapsed.

“The NSW government should respect the Court’s judgement.  There should be no special legislation to overturn these decision and the government should repeal the recent planning instrument that made economic considerations the primary factor for coal mine assessment.Bulga celebration

“This judgement shows the importance of communities having the ability to challenge assessment decisions.  This ability has largely been removed by the implementation of the process where the Planning Assessment Commission reviews its own decisions.  The Greens support the reinstitution of a merit appeal process with the Land and Environment Court.

“Without the Environmental Defenders Office, the community of Bulga would not have been able to defend their community.  Premier Barry O’Farrell should reverse his previous decision to strip the EDO of funding so that ordinary citizens and communities can be properly represented in our courts,” he said.

John Krey Bulga

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916

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