NSW Land and Environment Court dismisses legal bid to stop Wallarah 2 coal mine at Bushells Ridge

NOT OVER: Alan Hayes of the Australian Coal Alliance addresses a meeting at Blue Haven. Mr Hayes said ACA would continue to challenge the Wallarah 2 coal mine's development consent, at state and federal level. Picture: David Stewart
NOT OVER: Alan Hayes of the Australian Coal Alliance addresses a meeting at Blue Haven. Mr Hayes said ACA would continue to challenge the Wallarah 2 coal mine's development consent, at state and federal level. Picture: David Stewart

THE Land and Environment Court on Friday dismissed a legal bid by the Australian Coal Alliance (ACA) to stop the Wallarah 2 coal mine at Bushells Ridge, but an appeal is likely.

ACA had challenged the validity of the Planning Assessment Commission's (PAC) development consent for the coal mine on 10 grounds.

These grounds included an alleged failure by the PAC to consider:  downstream emissions; State Environmental Planning Policy; principles of ecologically sustainable development; and flood impacts. ACA also contended there had been an error of fact in relation to flood impacts; a misconstruction of the flood compensation condition of consent; and a failure to consider the risk to private water supplies.

The court found the grounds were "without merit" .

ACA spokesperson Alan Hayes said he was disappointed by the judgement, and this was not the end of the line.

"Our barristers believe there are grounds for appeal on certain matters and we will will be lodging our intention to appeal within the 28 days that we have to do so," Mr Hayes said.

ACA was also preparing to challenge the federal government's approval of the coal mine, delivered by Environment Minister Melissa Price.

"This is certainly not the end of the Australian Coal Alliances's challenge against Wyong Coal Pty Ltd. We will also be lodging proceedings in the Federal Court challenging Melissa Price's decision as well," Mr Hayes said.

CFMEU Mining and Energy district president Peter Jordan said the court's "comprehensive dismissal" of the legal bid to stop the mine should clear the way for the development to proceed.

"The case brought by the anti-coal lobby has been thrown out of court. Now let's get on with it," Mr Jordan said.

"Any further legal interventions to stop or delay this development are ideologically motivated; what our industry needs is fair rules that are consistently applied to give operators, investors and workers some certainty."

Wallarah 2 had ticked all the appropriate regulatory boxes, Mr Jordan said.

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