Media Releases - 06 December 2021

Hawkins-Rumker coal exploration ruled out but Wollemi still under threat

  • Two areas on the edge of Wollemi National Park will not be released for coal exploration

  • Wollemi is still under threat as a third area has not been ruled out

  • The third area is the most spectacular and precious

  • The NSW government should spare the community this pointless uncertainty

The NSW Government has announced it will not release two areas on the edge of Wollemi National Park for coal exploration, but refused to rule out a third area that is home to World Heritage Value-forests.

In response to the announcement, Wilderness Society NSW Campaigns Manager Victoria Jack says:

“It’s fantastic to see Hawkins and Rumker spared after the Wilderness Society campaigned for more than a year against coal exploration next door to Wollemi National Park in the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. This result would not have been possible without the incredible efforts of the local community, led by the Rylstone Region Coal Free Community group.”

“While this is an important win, Wollemi is not yet safe. The NSW government failed to rule out Ganguddy-Kelgoola, which is the most spectacular and precious of the three areas earmarked for coal exploration on Wollemi’s doorstep.”

“It’s significant that a potential new coalfield in this beautiful region was knocked on its head before it even got to the stage of coal exploration. Given the decision to rule out Hawkins and Rumker, and knowing what’s happening in the global coal market, it seems unlikely a new greenfield coal mine in such a location could come to fruition at this point.”

“It’s clear the same issues the NSW government pointed to as reasons to refuse Hawkins and Rumker - those being commercial, logistical and social constraints - will be applicable to the assessment of Ganguddy-Kelgoola. This area is further away from rail infrastructure and has less coal in the ground. It threatens the same community, and the same agriculture and eco-tourism industries. Further than that, this area also has more significant natural values than Hawkins and Rumker.”

“Ganguddy-Kelgoola is home to two state forests that have been nominated for inclusion in the National Heritage List as a step towards inscribing them in the World Heritage Area. There are 17 recorded First Nations cultural sites (and many more unrecorded) in Ganguddy-Kelgoola, as well as habitat of threatened species such as the koala and spotted-tailed quoll.”

“Knowing all of this, why would the NSW government put the community through more uncertainty and use taxpayer money to fund another expensive Preliminary Regional Issues Assessment, only to inevitably reach the same conclusion? Until the NSW government rules out coal exploration in Ganguddy-Kelgoola, a cloud will hang over the community and they will be unable to get on with their lives.”

“The NSW government should stop trying to appease the fossil fuel lobby, admit there is no future for a greenfield coal mine on the edge of a World Heritage Area, and put the community out of their misery.”

For further comment contact Victoria Jack on 0481 125 427