Policy Position - No new mining for energy

The New England Policy Position is to have no new fossil fuel mining for the purpose of energy generation.

I will work to enact new national legislation that prevents approval of new or expanded fossil fuel mining for energy in the Electorate, as part of new national legislation, multi-decade national strategy and funding allocation that implement the Paris Climate Change Accord and achieve the objective of keeping anthropogenic temperature rises to no more than a global average of 1.5ºC.

I recognise that while these matters are the currently responsibility of the NSW Government.and so will also calling on the NSW Government to: cancel or revoke exploration licences for coal and petroleum (as are detailed below); and prohibit the issue of any new mining or petroleum production leases or licences.

This policy has been formed based upon the two key facts: that there is neither majority public support, nor any sound rationale, to justify new mining for energy in the Electorate.

The majority of New Englanders do not support the mining for energy in their Electorate. This is supported by a range of surveys and polls which quantify overwhelming opposition and conversely very low levels of positive support. These are detailed below.

Further, there are viable and better alternatives to generate energy, electricity specifically, from renewable wind and solar power with storage technology.

CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Organisation (AEMO), recently released a joint study – GenCost 2018 – which concluded that the levelized, or long-term, cost of energy (LCOE) of solar and wind power, plus storage, is the lowest cost for new generation needs.

Mining coal and gas for electricity generation are not only more costly in economic and financial terms. They also have significant negative impacts on water security, air quality, public health, agriculture, native habitats, wildlife and Aboriginal heritage and cultural values. Furthermore, they are a significant contributor to the threats arising from serious climate change ~ as recently summarised in the ‘carbon budget’ judgement to decline the proposed new Rocky Hill Mine near Gloucester, NSW.

While this Policy Position is for the New England Electorate, it is likely that this policy and rationale is equally sound for most, if not all, proposed, expanded and new fossil fuel mining for electricity generation throughout Australia.

Links with New England Policy Platform

This Policy Position is linked with the following parts of the New England Policy Platform:

  • To proactively seek funding and support for the New England Renewable Energy Zone, including pro-active training and supply-chain development to capture the greatest possible opportunities for employment and business within the region.
  • The need to pro-actively ensure a just and fair transition toward clean energy for the workers and businesses who are affected by the structural change and decline of the coal industry.
  • Address the affordability of electricity costs through effective energy efficiency, distributed energy, energy education programs and community energy initiatives.
  • Pursue the establishment of a national strategy and funding to support the future of farming which addresses the land-use conflicts and threats from mining as well as nutrient, soil, water and climate systems, cycles and risks.
  • Determine what changes are required to ensure the effective, efficient, transparent and accountable governance of water resources, particularly within the Murray Darling Basin.
  • Seeking funding to address air quality pollution and associated public health problems for the Upper Hunter and Armidale communities.
  • Pursue the establishment of a national strategy and funding to abate and address critically endangered and vulnerable animals, habitats and ecological communities
  • Pursue the creation of national legislation, multi-decade national strategy and funding allocation that implement the Paris Climate Change Accord and achieve the objective of keeping anthropogenic temperature rises to no more than a global average of 1.5ºC
  • Seek to create an independent Water and Environment Commission with independent, expert authority and responsibility.

Proposed, expanded & new energy-related mining licences & leases in the New England Electorate

Shenhua Watermark Coal Project

Assessment Type SSD Mod
Project Type Mining > Coal Mining
Application Number SSD 4975 MOD1
Determined 21/12/2018
Exploration licence: Decision Approved
NSW Conditional Approval 28/01/2015Determined 21/12/2018
NSW Consolidated Consent Modified 21/12/2018
Australian Government conditional Approval 04/07/2015
Location: Kamilaroi Highway, Breeza, NSW 2381 Australia
Local Government Gunnedah, with ground water aquifer implications for parts of the Liverpool Plains Shire which is within the Federal New England Electorate

The approval is subject to Australian Government conditions, which require Ministerial Approval of Biodiversity, Rehabilitation and Water Management Plans before application for a NSW mining lease can be submitted and Construction can commence. The Minister must obtain the advice of the Commonwealth’s Independent Expert Scientific Committee before the Water Management Plan must can be approved.

The Shenhua project is situated in the Liverpool Plains which is a very significant recharge area for the Murray Darling Basin. The proposed first open-cut pit will be excavated to a depth of 280m, deep into the network of water aquifers. The proponents of Shenhua Watermark acknowledge that the voids will have an adverse effect on the associated groundwater aquifers.

Petroleum Titles

PEL 452 (1991)
Location: About 31 km WSW of QUIRINDI
Holder: SANTOS QNT PTY.LTD.
Grant date 10-Jan-2007
Area 19 BLOCKS
Expiry date 09-Jan-2013

PEL 456 (1991)
Location: About 50 km NW of DENMAN
Holder: HUNTER GAS PTY LTD
Grant date 5-Mar-2008
Area 69 BLOCKS
Expiry date 05-Mar-2018

EL8324 (1992 Act)
Location: Upper Horton
Holder: FORGE MINERALS PTY LTD
Grant_date: 18 Nov 2014
Expiry_date: 18 Nov 2019
Last_renewed: 26 Jul 2017
Target: Group 9, Group 9a
Resource Type: COAL
Operation: EXPLORING
Title_area: 930 HA

EL6587 (1992 Act)
Location: Between Inverell and Ashford
Holder: WHITEHAVEN COAL MINING LIMITED
Grant_date: 03 Jul 2006
Expiry_date: 03 Jul 2020
Last_renewed: 01 Nov 2016
Target: Group 9
Resource Type: COAL
Operation: EXPLORING
Title_area: 218 HA

EL6450 (1992 Act)
Location: North of Ashford
Holder: WHITEHAVEN COAL MINING LIMITED
Grant_date: 01 Jul 2005
Expiry_date: 30 Jun 2019
Last_renewed: 10 Feb 2015
Target: Group 9
Resource Type: COAL
Operation: EXPLORING
Title_area: 2610 HA

EL6234 (1992 Act)
Location: tbc
Holder: RENISON COAL PTY LTD; NORTHERN ENERGY CORPORATION LIMITED
Grant_date: 19 Apr 2004
Expiry_date: 19 Apr 2018
Last_renewed: Renewal Sought
Target: Group 9
Resource Type: COAL
Operation: EXPLORING
Title_area: 800 HA

EL6428 (1992 Act)
Location: tbc
Holder: RENISON COAL PTY LTD; NORTHERN ENERGY CORPORATION LIMITED
Grant_date: 07 Jun 2005
Expiry_date: 07 Jun 2019
Last_renewed: 20 Nov 2017
Target: Group 9
Resource Type: COAL
Operation: EXPLORING
Title_area: 585 HA

 

Public Opposition

There is strong opposition to mining for energy in the New England Electorate.

Lock the Gate have conducted extensive community surveys with regard to community views about coal seam gas mining. Their results for the New England Electorate specifically show extremely high support for wanting to remain gasfield free:

Liverpool Plains Shire
17 communities (rural roads) surveyed
96.75% yes to being gasfield free


Upper Hunter Shire
2 communities (rural roads) surveyed
93.65% yes to being gasfield free

Two public polls have been conducted by the Northern Daily Leader which show extremely high levels of opposition to the proposed Watermark coal mine (Shenhua).

Shenua Poll showing 96% opposition2nd Shenhua Poll showing 94% opposition