Response to Matt Kean, Minister for Energy and Environment, his Media Release: ‘PROTECTION SECURED FOR ‘THE DRIP’ LANDS’
MDEG replies: ‘This is only the first step in providing full protection from mining.’
Mudgee District Environment Group (MDEG) welcomes the declaration of 33 hectares of lands abutting the Goulburn River and surrounding The Drip gorge as a State Conservation Area (SCA) under the management of the National Parks. This final transfer marks the end of a lengthy delay since an acquisition agreement with Moolarben Coal Operations was first signed in 2015, for what was originally crown land.
However this is only the first step in providing full protection from mining. While the declaration of SCA aims to protect natural and cultural heritage it does not restrict mining and exploration. The river corridor is still vulnerable to mining while covered by Exploration Licence (EL6288) with drilling proceeding to the north of the river and a longwall mining lease approved 170m south of the river near the picnic area.
If the NSW government is genuine, relinquishing EL6288 over this SCA is the next step.
MDEG is asking that all mining activities be excluded from this high conservation and culturally significant area. Mining and exploration activities risks the groundwater system that feeds The Drip and the Goulburn River and the stability of sandstone cliffs along this much loved river corridor. Full permanent protection of this SCA reserve can only be achieved if upgraded and recategorised as Goulburn River National Park as a result of a five year review by the Minister.