In a blow to workers and campaigners in the Illawarra calling for investment in a jobs rich renewable energy zone with investment in green steel the NSW Government has instead paved the way for an expansion of the Dendrobium coal mine.
NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole and Planning Minister Rob Stokes have pushed forward with Dendrobium's controversial coal mine expansion underneath Sydney's water catchment, declaring it state significant development, despite the Independent Planning Commission categorically ruling out the project earlier this year.
The Independent Planning Commission ruled that Dendrobium's controversial coal mine expansion underneath Sydney's water catchment would have unacceptable impacts to water security as well as biodiversity, threatened ecological communities and cause irreversible damage to 58 identified Aboriginal cultural artefacts and values. It also found the mine would cause serious degradation to 25 watercourses and swamps in Metropolitan Special Area.
Greens MP and Water spokesperson Cate Faehrmann said: "This is a huge kick in the guts for the community which has been fighting hard to protect our water catchments from coal mining and hoping for a green steel industry for the Illawarra.
"I've seen for myself the damage that longwall mining does, having visited creeks and wetlands that have literally dried up because of the subsidence that occurs from mines underneath or nearby.
"The IPC report should have spelled the end for longwall mining anywhere near our water catchments. Instead the NSW Government's ideological obsession with coal means they just can't let it go, and it's our environment, waterways and climate that will pay the price.
Greens MP and Energy Spokesperson David Shoebridge said: "This decision by the Coalition is a double attack on future jobs and the environment.
"What the Illawarra needs right now is a surge of public and private investment in renewable energy and green steel, not another coal mine.
"The Greens are committed to building the Illawarra's growth industries which is why we have supported renewable energy zones and obtained $50 million of public investment in green hydrogen. This is where jobs growth will come from, not from another 20th century coal mine.
"We know there are years of secure coking coal supply for Bluescope without the Dendrobium extension so this makes no economic or environmental sense, it is clearly all about ideology and politics," Mr Shoebridge said.