The community needs to mobilise

September 09, 2011

Now that the State Government has given approval for the Dargues Reef gold mine at Majors Creek, the community needs to mobilise immediately to decide whether it wants to appeal the decision via the Environmental Defenders’ Office.

The Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) has found in favour of the mine, based on the recommendation from the Planning Department, despite the large number of excellent submissions from the community at the August 23 Braidwood hearing which clearly demonstrated the shortcomings of the proponent’s environmental assessment.

Given that the Minister has left it up to the Department to make the recommendation and the main departmental bureaucrats involved have absolute support for mining, it is easy to see now that the decision was never going to go any other way. It is of great concern that no extra conditions have been imposed as a result of this whole process.

The tailings dam won’t be moved, it will be up to the mining company to make good in regard to Majors Creek itself and the impact on individual water supplies, and the eucalypt community will still be cleared. What about the role the Commonwealth had in regard to endangered and threatened species? The approval makes no reference to it.

What the community needs to do is decide if they want to pursue the matter further, and lodge an appeal through the Environmental Defenders’ Office.

If the community does not appeal this decision, at the very least it needs to be vigilant in choosing its representatives on the community committee that will oversee the mining operations and hold Cortona to account. A public meeting is probably the best way to proceed.

The laws are there but they are not being administered; the regulator is a long way from the mine and won’t be looking, and neither will anyone else. It is up to us now.

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