Council rejects coal mining

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Council rejects coal mining

SOUTH Gippsland Shire has taken a stronger stance against coal exploration and mining in the Mirboo North district.

The council’s position, confirmed at last Wednesday’s meeting, was in response to a petition from the Mirboo North community, signed by 1970 people, calling for coal mining to be banned in Mirboo North.

Council officers had recommend councillors note the petition and provide a copy to the Minister for Energy and Resources Lily D’Ambrosio and Mantle Mining, the company holding a coal exploration licence over Mirboo North.

Officers had also requested council and the community receive updates about activities associated with the exploration licence or progress towards a retention and/or mining licence.

But in response to a presentation by Coal and CSG Free Mirboo North last Wednesday, Cr Nigel Hutchinson-Brooks moved a motion that council also express “a firm view against coal exploration and coal mining in the Mirboo North region and advise Mantle Mining of this position”.

He said farming in the Strzelecki Hills would be negatively impacted by mining.

Cr Kieran Kennedy said he would have called for an exemption from mining but the motion “was a step in the right direction”.

“It is our duty to go as far as can and protect the very economy of this shire, which is agriculture and tourism,” he said.

Cr Don Hill said the community wanted to hear council call for a complete ban. Cr Lorraine Brunt said council did not have jurisdiction to do so and said her council colleagues were electioneering ahead of the October council election.

Cr Jim Fawcett said, “We have done everything in our power to support our community.

“We can’t refuse someone to mine because that is a state responsibility.”

Cr Hutchinson-Brooks said he rejected claims council was not representing the community’s views, labelling such claims as “offensive”.

Council’s unanimous support for the motion was applauded by members of Coal and CSG Free Mirboo North in the council gallery.

The group’s Marg Thomas had earlier told council, “The exploration licences are a ‘foot in the door’ for gaining a retention licence. If the mining company proceeds to successfully apply for a retention licence it means many more years of uncertainty for our communities as this type of licence can be held up to 10 years and may be renewed twice for up to 10 years.”

The group urged council to add to the original motion: “That council take a firm, definitive position against coal exploration and mining and advise government and Mantle Mining of this position.”

Ban plea: from left, Suzanne Wightman, Anna Hall, Phil Piper, Julie Price, David Arnault, Marg Thomas, Gayle Margaret and Denyse Menzies of Coal and CSG Free Mirboo North persuaded South Gippsland Shire Council to express firm opposition to coal mining in Mirboo North last Wednesday

Ban plea: from left, Suzanne Wightman, Anna Hall, Phil Piper, Julie Price, David Arnault, Marg Thomas, Gayle Margaret and Denyse Menzies of Coal and CSG Free Mirboo North persuaded South Gippsland Shire Council to express firm opposition to coal mining in Mirboo North last Wednesday

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Posted by on Mar 1 2016. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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