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Wednesday, 29 May 2013
Page: 4405


Mr CRAIG THOMSON (Dobell) (09:45): I rise to speak about the coalmine that is planned to be built under the water catchment area in the Wyong Shire. I start by expressing great disappointment that, at this stage, neither the government nor the opposition is prepared to support my private member's bill to make sure that the Wyong Shire water supply, the water supply for the Central Coast, is secured.

I will go through the reasons why this is so important and what the facts are on this. I will give some data that primarily comes from what the coalmine proponents are saying as to the effects of their coalmine on the water supply and the health of the region. They say that over 79 million litres of water will be lost because of the coalmine. This far exceeds the annual rainfall of the Central Coast and the capacity to recharge the aquifers. Professor Pells, who is an expert in mining who consults for BHP and Xstrata, has said, looking at this mine, that there will be 200 metres worth of depressurisation, which will mean that the aquifers under the water supply of the Central Coast will take over 200 years to recover.

The Central Coast has been down to 10 per cent of its water. This coalmine is planned for the major area where our water is. It is planned to be at the junction of the rivers in the most crucial spot of our water catchment area. With that amount of water loss, it is almost criminal that we have the mining interests owning the government and the opposition in relation to this issue and that the people of Dobell, the people of the Central Coast, are being totally ignored.

But it is worse than that. We can look at the issue of subsidence and what is going to happen. The mining company's own figures show that there will be one to two metres worth of subsidence. They say that no-one will be affected, but, if you go to their documents, at appendix 8, they say that between one and two metres of subsidence will affect 755 rural structures, 420 rural dams and 245 houses. This is from the mining company's own figures about the effects that the subsidence is going to have. The main road that goes through the valleys is going to drop by over a metre. This cannot be done.

There are also health issues. The mining company admits that people will die because of the coal dust. They say there will not be that many, but people will die because of the coal dust. So we will have a water supply that is compromised; we will have people's health affected and people dying because of the coal dust; we will have houses that will collapse; we will have roads that will go down. The only way we can do this and make sure that the Central Coast is looked after is to support my private member's bill to make sure that the water supply of the Central Coast is properly looked after. (Time expired)