Time for an Inquiry

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The NSW Government have used dodgy Part 3A planning processes to deny the community access to the Land & Environment Court for both the Boggabri Coal and Maules Creek Coal Mine.

Section 75.L of the now repealed Part 3A of the EP&A Act says that once a PAC Review has held a public hearing the appeal rights to the Land and Environment Court are extinguished. This has raised the ire of the community for three important reasons;

  1. There is a pattern of behaviour emerging whereby all “sensitive” approvals in State Forests are going via a PAC Review in order to skirt the Land and Environment Court.
  2. The unwillingness of the minister to require the Planning Assessment Commission to respect his Terms of Reference means that there is no accountability for decisions.
  3. Undeclared political donations, former high ranking political figures and well connected lobbyists leave a number of questions on the table regarding the failed Terms of Reference and the newly engineered approvals process.

The Land and Environment court would likely take a dim view of the shoddy environmental offsets, inadequate cumulative impact assessment and political shenanigans overlooked by the PAC and the Dept of Planning.

Now having taken the “merits” appeal rights away, the Department of Planning in the Maules Creek recommendation is trying to wind back the PAC’s “stringent” guidelines. It is obvious to anyone that the process for these two mines has been designed to suit prior to the projects going on exhibition and that poor oversight is exasperating the problem.

This failure to follow due process and the denial of natural justice will always bring about direct action such as that shown yesterday.  Two arrested in mine protest (video), Prime News September 4 2012

Direct Action is being taken for a second straight day against the Boggabri Coal mine which is operating in the Leard State Forest as the community clearly doesn’t accept the planning outcome.

It is time for a full enquiry into the Dept of Planning  processes regarding these mines to be held before more members of the public take risks with their life and liberty to reverse these engineered planning decisions.