Greens’ bold plan for protecting Central Coast’s drinking water by placing National Park in path of controversial Wallarah 2 coal mine
The Greens will introduce an amendment to the NSW Government’s National Parks Bill in State Parliament today to declare the Jilliby State Conservation Area a National Park and protect the Central Coast’s drinking water catchment from the Wallarah 2 coal mine.
If the amendment is passed and Jilliby SCA gains upgraded protection as a National Park, it would prevent the Wallarah 2 Coal Project, a longwall coal mine proposed for directly beneath the Central Coast’s drinking water, from going ahead. A separate amendment will also seek to declare Wyong State Forest as part of the ‘new’ Jilliby National Park. Mining is outlawed in National Parks.
The Wallarah 2 mine has faced long-standing local community opposition and the NSW Government’s own Planning Department found the site was sensitive to the Central Coast’s water supply.
Greens MLC and Resources Spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said both the Liberal/Nationals and Labor had in the past promised the community they would oppose the Wallarah 2 mine, now they should act to deliver this protection.
“The controversial Wallarah 2 coal mine project poses massive threats to the future of the Central Coast’s drinking water and it’s ludicrous the plan hasn’t been thrown out before now,” he said.
“The IPCC report from last week was a call for action – the world must end coal by 2050 for a chance of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees. This means the government should not approve any new mines, let alone Wallarah 2 that threatens essential drinking water for the Central Coast community.
“The Greens have listened to the local community and will introduce an amendment in State Parliament aimed at declaring Jilliby State Conservation Area a National Park and stopping Wallarah 2 from going ahead.
“Central Coast Labor MPs Emma McBride and David Harris asked for Federal Government intervention to stop the mine.
“Prior to the 2011 NSW election, then Liberal leader Barry O’Farrell famously stood before a rally of residents on the Central Coast and gave a ‘no ifs, no buts’ guarantee there would not be any mining in any water catchment.
“The NSW Government broke its promise and betrayed the community but it can do better.
“Both parties should take this chance provided by the Greens six months out from the State election of creating a valuable new National Park and putting a stop to Wallarah 2. If they can’t, then they should step aside for leaders who can better represent the interests of the Central Coast community over the vested interests of coal,” Mr Buckingham said.
• Greens introducing amendment to NSW Parliament to expand the National Park reservation estate to include the 12,159 hectares of the Jilliby State Conservation Area.
• Jilliby SCA provides critical habitat for over 150 native animal species, including 16 threatened species and more than 130 species of birds. It has outstanding natural values consistent with stronger protection as a National Park.
• If Jilliby SCA was upgraded to National Park protection, it would protect integrity of the water catchment that supplies drinking water for the people of the Central Coast – a projected population of almost half a million people (415,000) by 2036. In perspective, that’s a population greater than the whole of the ACT.
• The amendment will prevent the Wallarah 2 Coal Project, a longwall coal mine directly beneath the Central Coast’s drinking water, from going ahead.
• The Wallarah 2 Coal Project (W2CP) will involve operate for the next 28 years, in direct contravention of the IPCC report’s warning that for an end to coal by 2050 for a chance of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees.
• Such is the risk posed by climate change that NSW should not be approving any new coal mines, let alone coal mines that threaten vital drinking water catchments.
• Prior to the 2011 State election, then Liberal leader, Mr Barry O’Farrell, famously stood before a rally of residents on the Central Coast and proclaimed that the Liberal Party would not allow coal mining to go ahead in that water catchment:
The next Liberal Government will ensure that mining cannot occur here. It will ensure that mining cannot occur in any water catchment area and will ensure that mining leases and mining exploration permits reflect that common sense, no ifs, no buts, a guarantee.
• In 2014, the Greens introduced a bill into NSW Parliament to enact the Liberal Party promise to stop the Wallarah 2 coalmine, but both the government and the Labor opposition refused to even allow debate on the bill.
• Seven years later, all parties now have an opportunity to deliver on this commitment to the people of the Central Coast through the inclusion of Jilliby.