YOU might expect staff at the mining company Wyong Coal to feel as though the world was against them.
After all, opposition to the company’s proposed Wallarah 2 coal mine at Bushells Ridge has been vocal and relentless for more than 20 years.
The former Wyong Shire Council opposed the mine. Central Coast Council has maintained that stand. State MP David Harris is against it. And federal MP Emma McBride has been an outspoken critic.
And then there’s the local community group, Australian Coal Alliance.
The group has rallied against Wallarah 2 from the beginning, and recently announced plans to legally challenge the Independent Planning Commission’s approval of the mine.
Opponents of Wallarah 2 cite a range of concerns about the proposed mine, but top of the hit list is the threat they say the mine would pose to the Central Coast water supply.
Wallarah 2 project manager Kenny Barry said any claims by the mine’s opponents that they represented the “entire community” were demonstrably incorrect.
“In fact, the week following the state government’s approval [for Wallarah 2], we received over 600 calls from locals, from businesses, congratulating us and asking ‘When do these opportunities begin?’,” he said.
“If the entire community had been against this mine then there would have been 300,000 objections to it. If the entire community supported it, then there would have been 300,000 submissions supporting it.
“Our experience is that there are a small group who are opposed to the mine. Whilst we disagree, they are entitled to their opinion.
“And then there is another much, much larger group who are ambivalent. They really are. That’s the reality of the current state of play.”
Then there was the group who supported the mine, and they were less inclined to get involved in social media and public campaigns, he said.
- This is part of an ongoing series on Wallarah 2.