MCCC objects to Whitehaven “Get out of Jail Free” noise modification

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The MCCC has lodged its objection with the Department of Planning re the Whitehaven Mod 4. The FULL Submission can be downloaded here. The MCCC was very clear in the covering letter to the Planning Secretary.

“The Maules Creek Community Council objects to the Mod 4 Environmental Assessment from Whitehaven Coal to remove a specific requirement for continuous environmental noise improvement by maintaining or reducing mining equipment sound power.

Five years on from the original determination the proponent has returned to the planning system to water down its noise conditions based on the dubious assertion that it has a strong record of compliance. Nothing could be further from the truth on noise.

The proponent provides no evidence of why they should be allowed to remove this requirement by the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) to enforce continuous environmental noise performance improvement by maintaining or reducing sound power.

The other coal mines operating in the area carry the same conditions in their approvals due to the commitment of the government at the time to have consistent regulation in the Maules Creek area. We see no reason to alter that position.

In general, the planning approval has failed to protect vulnerable families from the impacts of noise in the district. Farmers inside the zone of affectation are stranded, dealing with a belligerent and powerful company, while those outside the zone have uncovered a pattern of non-compliance.

The topography of the surrounding Nandewar range, inversion layers and remote location far from the eye of compliance staff has left families at Maules Creek vulnerable to a secretive proponent who games the system at every turn.

We believe that this proposal in Mod 4 to remove noise conditions has a negative flow on for the cumulative noise from mining in our area and for planning integrity across the state. We strongly recommend that Mod 4 is rejected.”