Win For Industry As Drayton South Mine Refusal Handed Down

The NSW thoroughbred industry had cause for celebration on Friday as the Planning Assessment Committee (PAC) handed down its verdict for the application by Anglo America for the proposed mining development at Drayton South in the Hunter Valley.

In a report published, the proposal was rejected recognising that mining and thoroughbred land uses are not compatible in close proximity and that appropriate buffers are required to protect sensitive industries from the impacts of coal mining.

In a statement released by the HTBA, President Dr Cameron Collins, while grateful on the findings, held sympathy for the families of those affected by the report.

“While we are relieved at today’s decision we are saddened by the impact this will have on the affected mining families. Our community here in the Hunter Valley is a small and tight one. This issue has caused divisions that no-one wanted,” Dr Cameron Collins, HTBA President said.

“This decision illustrates the importance of a diverse and resilient economy based on many strong industries providing long-term jobs and jobs choices for our community. It’s time now for all of us to move on.”

While there are two more steps to this long process, the Minister for Planning could now accept the PAC recommendations and make a prompt decision.

“For the sake of all involved, we call on Minister Stokes to exercise his Ministerial authority accept the recommendation of this third PAC and formally refuse the Drayton South application,” Dr Cameron Collins said.

Dr Collins went on to call on NSW’s Minister For Planning, Rob Stokes, to waste no time in bringing the long-running saga to an end.

“For the sake of all involved, we call on Minister Stokes to exercise his Ministerial authority, accept the recommendation of this third PAC and formally refuse the Drayton South application,” he said.

A leading voice against the mine proposal, the outcome of the report was welcomed by Darley’s Managing Director Henny Plumptre.

“Given the overwhelming evidence against this mine proceeding, we now need certainty,” Plumptre said.

“We call on the NSW Government to permanently protect Australia’s and NSW’s premier studs from future mining threats and place a State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) over the Drayton South EL to future mining on this site and avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.”

Another driving force in the fight against the proposal was Coolmore’s Tom Magnier, who like Dr Collins, also extended his sympathy to the mining community and took little pleasure in the outcome of the process.

“While we welcome the PAC’s recognition of the real risks Drayton South poses to Coolmore’s business and the need to protect our thoroughbred industry, we know that today’s news is very hard for the Drayton workforce.

“The uncertainty of this process has been tough on everybody and there are no winners out of it. We thank the PAC for their diligence and especially for their commentary on the need to improve matters to deliver certainty to both mining and the thoroughbred industry,” stated Magnier.

Detailing its decision in a 91-page report published on Friday, the PAC outlined the difficulty it had in reaching its final findings, given the emotive nature of the subject for all interested parties.

The report concluded that ultimately the land use conflict that would arise should the proposal go ahead would be too great to overcome and said: “The commission is deeply saddened by the implications of its recommendation for the 312 workers and 97 contractors at the Drayton Mine, their families and the associated suppliers and support businesses to the mine.

“It is with great difficulty that the commission has had to conclude that the land use conflict confronted cannot be overcome.”

To view the complete 91 page report, click here.

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