The Nature Conservation Council of NSW, Hunter Community Environment Centre and The Wilderness Society have today launched a report warning of the urgent risk from an unrestrained push of mining into iconic nature areas significant for their value as threatened species habitat and valued by local regional communities.
The report, Icons Under Threat, outlines unique case studies from seven iconic, sensitive natural areas of NSW under significant threat from mining and gas expansion. It provide insights into the thousands of hectares of rare habitat proposed to be clear felled for mining activities, the damage already being done across water catchments and the current inadequacy of mining company assessments and biodiversity offsets.
Nature Conservation Council of NSW CEO Pepe Clarke said, “The Icons Under Threat report is a timely reminder of some of the incredible natural wonders and wildlife at stake if the State government does not implement a more balanced approach to land use and reign in inappropriate mining and coal seam gas activities across NSW.
“Potential contamination of groundwater, water supplies and river systems is a critical concern at the majority of the sensitive natural areas featured in our report.
“We welcome yesterday’s Federal announcement of an Independent Expert Scientific Committee to provide scientific advice on coal and coal seam gas developments with significant impacts on water. However, we believe the Committee’s oversight and expertise should apply immediately to current licence applications, including the Pilliga Forest, Woronora and The Dripping Gorge,” he said.
Report author and The Wilderness Society Newcastle Campaign Manager Naomi Hogan said, “From plans for NSW’s biggest coal seam gas field in a national biodiversity hotspot, to mining proposals in Sydney’s water catchment and a mere 500m from the national park home of our living fossil, the Wollemi Pine, sensitive natural areas are coming off second best to mining and gas expansion.
“In putting together this report, I’ve been truly inspired by the stories of communities coming together to keep their special places, much-loved wildlife and local communities safe from the impacts of mining. It’s not easy standing up against mining interests, but the dedication and hard work of community members across NSW can and will make a difference,” she said.
Hunter community campaigner Bev Smiles said, “We must face the reality that there are areas in NSW, like those featured in the Icons report, where the risk to local communities, water supplies and the community is too great and mining and coal seam gas activities simply must not take place.”