The conservation movement welcomes Deputy Premier Paul Toole’s announcement today that the Wollombi and Kangooli-Gangadi areas will not be released for coal exploration or development. 
“While today’s announcement will be a tremendous relief for many, the government has effectively sentenced the community of Wollar to ‘death by coal mining’ by approving an operational release of new areas for the Wilpingong mine,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said.
“The government must explain why it has abandoned the families of Wollar and treated US mining giant Peabody so favourably.
“The decision is not only cruel and unjust for the families of Wollar, it undermines the NSW and Australian governments’ climate commitments.
“There is simply no need for the Wilpinjong coal mine to expand further — it already has approval to extract 16 million tonnes of coal a year until 2033. Mr Toole’s decision will potentially let the mine dig coal until 2050.
“There is already way too much coal mining approved to dig out of the ground for the coming decade. We call on the NSW Government to commit to no new coal expansions in NSW.”
Mr Gambian said the announcement that Wollombi and Kangooli-Gangadi areas would not be released for coal exploration ended decades of uncertainty for communities that had lived with the spectre of coal mining hanging over them.
“Families in these communities can now get on with their lives and plan for a healthier, coal-free future,” he said.