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Wednesday, 19 June 2013
Page: 6386


Mr CRAIG THOMSON (Dobell) (09:44): Again I rise to speak about the proposed coalmine in my electorate. The reason I raise this issue continually is that it is the most important issue for people on the Central Coast. The reason it is the most important issue is that this proposed coal mine—proposed essentially by the South Korean government with all the coal to go to South Korea—is under the major water catchment area for the Central Coast. The coalmine proponents themselves, in the documents that they have put out, have demonstrated that each and every day half the annual rainfall for the Central Coast will be lost because of this coalmine. Each and every day, half the annual rainfall is going to be lost.

In our area we got down to less than 10 per cent of our water supply only three years ago. For anyone to allow a coalmine that is going to jeopardise the security of the Central Coast community by taking away its water is almost criminal. That is why it absolutely galls me that, each and every election, we get the political parties coming along saying they are going to do something about stopping this mine. The most recent and classic example was Barry O'Farrell. He actually got up there during the last election campaign, in a red t-shirt, saying, 'Water not coal. We're going to legislate if we are elected. No ifs, no buts. We'll make sure this water catchment area is protected and there will be no mine.' Two years down the track, the mine proposal is moving on again. The insidious mining interests seem to be able to buy political power each and every time, even though it is communities like mine that are going to lose out.

This coalmine is going to do worse than destroy the community's water supply, destroy the lifeblood of the community; it is also going to kill people. The mining proponents themselves say, 'People will die because of this coalmine.' How anyone can say it is a good thing for the Central Coast, or a good thing for any area, to destroy the water supply, the lifeblood of the community, and kill its citizens by having a coalmine is beyond belief. I have a private member's bill that neither of the big parties is prepared to support. What I am saying is: you are going to be judged at the next election on this. For the Central Coast, the next election is going to be a referendum on what is good for the people of the Central Coast, and having a coalmine certainly is not.

In the remaining few seconds that I have, I want to pay tribute to Alan Hayes, Warren Simmons, Mike Campbell and Bob Graham in particular. Through a grassroots organisation they have led the fight to stop this coalmine for over 10 years. This coalmine is destroying my part of the world. It is destroying the Central Coast. It should not go ahead. If either party had any decency, they would be supporting my private member's bill. (Time expired)