08 August, 2017

Centennial's Springvale Consent for polluting coal mine in Sydney's water catchment invalid, court finds

Subject: Re: SMH: Consent for polluting coal mine in Sydney's water catchment invalid, court finds

On 2 Aug 2017, at 5:34 pm, James Tremain <NCC> wrote:
Consent for polluting coal mine in Sydney's water catchment invalid, court finds
Peter Hannam
Published: August 2 2017 - 5:10PM
Environment groups say they have scored a "massive victory" against coal mining in Sydney's water catchment area after the NSW Court of Appeal found that consent should not have been granted to a mine near Lithgow.
Centennial Coal's Springvale mine was granted a 13-year extension in 2015 by the Baird government, even though the mine was discharging millions of litres of untreated waste water directly into the Coxs River.
The river is the second largest source of water for the Warragamba Dam, which supplies most of Sydney's drinking water.
4Nature, an environment group, challenged the extension's approval, arguing it was in clear conflict with the 2011 State Environmental Planning Policy requiring any development in the catchment to have a neutral or beneficial effect on water quality.
The Appeals Court result on Wednesday overturned an earlier rejection by the Land and Environmental Court, and now requires the parties to make submissions about the mine's fate.
"The parties agreed that given the consequences for the current operations of the respondents and the users of the coal supplied by the mine, the Court should hear further submissions before making such orders," the judgment said.
"This is a massive win for the community," 4Nature spokesman Andrew Cox said. "It was a serious test - it shows you cannot just make up your own rules."
Centennial Coal said the court's decision was "obviously disappointing" but the company had prepared for it.
"A range of options have been identified and we will now proceed to implement these options to seek to ensure Springvale can continue operating without disruption," Katie Brassil, a spokeswoman for Centennial, said.
The miner would not necessarily negotiate with environmental groups, she said.
"As no orders have been issued and further submissions will be heard, it's inappropriate to speculate about the ruling," Anthony Roberts, NSW Planning Minister said.
A spokeswoman for EnergyAustralia, the operator of Mt Piper power station which sources all its coal from Springvale, said the utility was "deeply concerned about the potential for any interruption to Mt Piper's operations to impact retail energy prices".
The nearby plant, which is fed by a coal conveyor and has no facility to take coal by rail from other mines, generates about 15 per cent of the state's electricity. Together the mine and power station employ more than 600 people, EnergyAustralia said.
Despite the concern, Don Harwin, the energy minister said NSW's energy supplies were secure. "The NSW Government is committed to maintaining our energy security and taking all necessary steps in that regard," he said.
'Good precedent'
Sue Higginson, principal solicitor for the NSW Environmental Defenders Office, said the decision would have an impact on future coal or other developments across the catchment.
"It sets a really good precedent," Ms Higginson said.
Centennial Coal was left in a conundrum because it would now have to show it could operate with a neutral or beneficial effect on water quality, she said.
The NSW Environmental Protection Authority was among the agencies that raised objections to the mine's extension because of the high salinity and other contaminants - especially compared with background levels - in its waste water.
In the past, the mine supplied the waste water to the nearby Wallerawang power station until it shut down.
Without its own treatment plant, the mine discharges waste directly into the Coxs River. The pollution, as much as 19 million litres a day, would amount to about two-thirds of the flows at the discharge point.
Centennial has had a poor environment record, including allowing about 2300 tonnes of coal material to discharge from its Clarence Colliery into the Wollangambe River and the World Heritage area of the Blue Mountains in 2015.
The EPA last month fined Centennial $1.05 million, a record penalty for a single prosecution.
"It's an operator that has not shown a strong commitment to the environment," Mr Cox said, noting the company's underground mines were also "destroying endangered upland swamps".
Jeremy Buckingham, the Greens NSW mining spokesman, called on the miner to fast-track a pipeline and water treatment plant, and for the Gardens of Stone National Park to be expanded to protect the precious region.
"The government has had plenty of warnings about Centennial Coal's chronic disregard for their licence conditions and the environment," he said. "They should investigate whether Banpu, the Thai company that bought Centennial Coal in 2010, is a fit and proper person to hold a mining licence."
Discharge curbs delayed
"For years, Centennial Coal ... had known about the need to limit pollution from the mine entering the Coxs River," Chris Jonkers, a spokesman for Lithgow Environment Group, said.
"Instead, the miner delayed tighter discharge rules that were due to start on July 1, 2017."
Keith Muir, director of the Colong Foundation, warned the government against trying to change the law, saying it would be vilified if it tried that route.
"You mean you are going to allow pollution in the drinking water - how could you?"
The company now needs to negotiate and bring forward a water treatment plant that currently has consent to be built "off in the never-never", he said.
A spokesman for the NSW Minerals Council said the group would examine the court's verdict and get "our own legal advice to determine if there may be any broader implications".

James Tremain
Communications Manager
Nature Conservation Council of NSW
m: 0419 272 254 | w: (02) 9516 0206 | e:


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01 August, 2017

Lithgow City Council 2017/18 Budget will changes be in order?

Lithgow Mercury:  'Lithgow City Council working towards surplus'.

"Lithgow City Council has clearly voiced its intention to bring its general fund budget into surplus by the end of this financial year.

At the last meeting of council on July 17, councillors noted a plan to overhaul the general fund budget throughout 2017/18.

General manager Graeme Faulkner said the move was motivated by the need for the organisation to be financially viable in order to be declared Fit for the Future.

Lithgow council has been placed on monthly watch by the Office of Local Government and Mr Faulkner is required to provide monthly reports on the administration’s progress.

Eye off the Ball in 2016/18 Financial Year

Council will attempt to claw back a projected deficit of $853,000 for this financial year.

​"It might be too much of an ask to reduce the deficit totally for this year but we're going to give it a good go," the general manager said.

Although $853,000 is certainly a sizeable figure, Lithgow Council has improved dramatically after being in the red to the tune of over $4 million last financial year."

Lithgow City Council general fund deficits in the past five years:
  • 2016/17       –$4.118m
  • 2015/16       –$1.712m
  • 2014/15       –$2.213m
  • 2013/14       –$1.753m
  • 2012/13       –$0.578m
(Total 5-year deficit:  $10.374m)

Read the full story here:  Lithgow Mercury:  'Lithgow City Council working towards surplus'.

29 July, 2017


Bylong Coal Project

Please be advised that the Review Report for the above listed project is now available online. Please click on the link to go to the signed report.

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions on (02) 9383 2100.

Kind regards,

Aaron Brown | Project Support Officer Secretariat
NSW Planning Assessment Commission
Level 3, 201 Elizabeth Street Sydney NSW 2000
e: aaron.brown@pac.nsw.gov.au | p: 9383 2112 | f: 9383 2133 |  www.pac.nsw.gov.au


28 July, 2017

Glen Davis Community Assn Notice of AGM Saturday 5 August 2017 at 7.30pm

Postal Address: 3253 Glen Davis Rd, Glen Davis.
PRESIDENT: John Davies. SECRETARY: Laraine Simpson.
E: john.davies@westnet.com.au E: larainesimpson71@gmail.com.au
P: 6379 7304. P: 6379 7203.
If any members have any business you would like to discuss in general business please feel free to do so.
Light supper after the meeting.

28 May, 2017

Bush Tucker Day in the Capertee Valley

Glen Alice Community Association together with Capertee Valley Landcare invite you to a:

Bush Tucker Day in the Capertee Valley

Sunday 11 June 2017 10am – 5pm, Glen Alice Community Hall

A day for exploring what native foods we have available in our valley, a day for meeting and sharing knowledge with Indigenous people connected to our area.
o   Welcome to country by Lyn Syme, a Dabee elder and a descendant of Queen Peggy Lambert.
o   Native foods of Capertee Valley before white settlement. Vicki Powys, local artist and Julie Gibson, Landcare person.
o   Indigenous plants of Capertee Valley as food, medicine and tools, by Dick Turner and Alice Williams. Dick is well known in the valley through his long association with the Regent Honeyeater Project and Alice Williams is a Wiradjuri woman and co-author of the book Wiradjuri Plant Use in the Murrumbidgee Catchment Area.
o   A guided walk through the bushland near the community hall to identify useful plants.
o   Native grass identification and uses, Colin Seis.
<< Bush Tucker Morning Tea >>
o   Informal displays and demonstrations
o   Didgeridoo by Graham Davis King, Indigenous artist. Everyone welcome to bring their musical instruments to join in.
o   Making a possum skin cape, a demonstration with kangaroo skin. Dianne Pirotta, Indigenous artist.
o   Native food plants for your garden, some available from Bilbi Blooms, Ngampri Nursery, Grasses from Colin Seis.
o   Possibly – where to buy native foods, weaving with reeds and grasses . . .
<< Degustation Lunch>>
kangaroo (traditional roasting on fire and as stew), yabbies, witchetty grubs, damper, warrigalgreens soup, emu eggs and more all prepared by our new chef in the valley Dean Baiss.
A special invitation to all with Indigenous links with the valley, and people living here, but also to everyone who wants to know more.
RSVP Because we are providing food it is important you let us know that you’re coming, places will be limited so get your name down early. Email to: cvlandcare@gmail.com; phone: Julie Gibson 63797317 or Kerrie Cooke 63797390

25 May, 2017

LCC Financial and Management Plans

Lithgow City Council finally publicly releases next year's
Management & Financial Plans - ALL SIX OF THEM !

The Lithgow City Council has today finally publicly released their next year's Management & Financial Plans and all SIX Plans can be downloaded from the Council's website at this link: 

The SIX PLANS are made up of the following:

👉   The Draft Community Strategic Plan 2030
👉   The combined Draft Delivery Program 2017/18 – 2020/21 and Draft Operational Plan 2017/18
👉   The Draft Fees and Charges 2017/18
👉   The Draft Strategic Asset Management Plan
👉   The Draft Long Term Financial Plan
👉   The Draft Workforce Plan

At over 400 pages in total, it's going to be a long read over the next month with time you won't get back with Community Submissions closing in just four weeks on Monday 12 June, 2017.

Here from one of W.C. Fields best known quotes: 

Lithgow City Council Draft Budget 2017/18 and the Combined draft Delivery Program from 2017 /18 to 2020/21

Attention all Capertee /Capertee Valley Residents.... come and have your'e say at the Draft Budget Meeting. (Issued by CVA Inc.)
Capertee Memorial Hall – Thursday 25 May at 6pm

Members of the community are invited to come along to one of the community information sessions being held throughout the Lithgow LGA during May on Council’s plans for the future of the area.

At its meeting to be held on 15 May, Lithgow City Council will be considering its Draft Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework; a suite of plans that will guide the future direction of the Lithgow LGA over the next 10 years.  In particular this will include the:
•        Draft Community Strategic Plan 2030 – Our place, our future
•        Combined Draft Delivery Program 2017/18 – 2020/21 and Operational Plan 2017/18 (the Budget)
·                  Draft Fees and Charges 2017/18

These plans are part of a suite of plans which make up the IPR Framework and will be available for viewing on Council’s website on Tuesday 16 May following the Council Meeting.

Come along to one of the community information sessions at the following locations and find out what projects are included in the Draft Operational Plan (the Budget) for your area and how to make a submission:
  • Wallerawang Community & Sports Club – Thursday 18 May at 6pm
  • Rydal Union Church – Tuesday 23 May at 6pm
  • Lithgow City Council Chambers – Wednesday 24 May at 6pm
  • Capertee Memorial Hall – Thursday 25 May at 6pm
  • Old Hartley School Hall – Tuesday 30 May at 6pm
  • Crystal Theatre Portland – Thursday 1 June at 6pm.

If you have any queries on this matter please contact Deborah McGrath on 6354 9921.

Deborah McGrath | Corporate Planning and Communications Officer
Policy and Planning | Lithgow City Council
(02) 6354 9999 | Fax: (02) 6351 4259
Bluett Award Winners

23 May, 2017

Fire and Emergency Service Levy

From: Lithgow Ratepayers [mailto:lithgowratepayers@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, 1 May 2017 11:28 PM
To: Lithgow Ratepayers
Subject: Um .... why has the Lithgow City Council been so quiet on the introduction of the new Fire and Emergency Service Levy - On Lithgow City Council Rate Notices?

Um .... why has the Lithgow City Council been so quiet on the introduction of the
new Fire and Emergency Service Levy - On Lithgow City Council Rate Notices?

"From July 1, NSW property owners will be charged the new Fire and Emergency Services Levy (FESL) based on land value determined by the NSW Valuer-General, replacing the previous system which was a tax on insurance policies.

The annual levy is determined by adding a fixed charge – $100 for residential property – to an additional ad valorem amount based on unimproved land value.

For owners of "public benefit land" such as churches and scout halls, the annual fixed charge is also $100 plus an additional amount based on a separate ad valorem calculation.

But for farms, industrial and commercial landholders, the fixed charge will be $200 plus the additional amount.

A new charge will be calculated annually based on the budget for NSW Fire and Rescue, the Rural Fire Service and the State Emergency Service.

The levy, which accounts for three-quarters of the fire and emergency services budget, will be collected by Councils as a separately listed charge on Rates Notices."

Property owners can work out their precise levy using a calculator on the fire services and emergency services levy website here:  http://fesl.nsw.gov.au/rates_and_calculator

Ed:  The mainstream media is reporting that the Paul Toole State Coalition NSW Government new Fire and Emergency Services Levy is expected to impact more largely on Middle and Low Income and Pensioner Households, whose Homes historically were not previously covered by Building Insurance.