A merit appeal has been lodged in the Land and Environment Court in an attempt to save the Rocky Hill Coal Mine Project; Gloucester Resources Limited (GRL) told its Community Consultative Committee, on Friday, February 2, at its first meeting after the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) refused the mine application on December 14, 2017.
The appeal was lodged in December 2017.
GRL chief operating officer Brain Clifford said he had spoken to many locals in Gloucester since the PAC decision and is encouraged by the community’s support for the project
“Many Gloucester residents strongly support the project and the merit appeal,” he said.
Groundswell Gloucester responded to the announcement by stating that “Gloucester has been fighting this “appalling proposal for 12 years and the decision to appeal will just prolong the agony of many people.”
“While this announcement comes as no complete surprise, it demonstrates that GRL and the mining sector are prepared to ride roughshod over small communities irrespective of the wishes of that community and to treat them with contempt,” Groundswell Gloucester chair Julie Lyford said.
Mr Clifford said after the “extensive environmental assessment for the project that was undertaken over five years, both the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) and the PAC found the project met all non-discretionary criteria.”
“On that basis GRL felt compelled to appeal,” Mr Clifford said.
“I have stated repeatedly that GRL is committed to Gloucester and to providing long term economic benefits for the town. For this reason we will continue to exhaust all options in our attempt to have the Rocky Hill Mining Project approved,” he said.
Groundswell said “GRL seems determined to put profit well ahead of people.”
“If GRL thinks that Gloucester will take this lying down, then they are sorely mistaken,” Ms Lyford said.
A spokesperson for the DPE said it “advised the Minister for Planning that it did not consider a merit review was appropriate as the project had been subject to a very lengthy planning process and impacts of the proposed mine were already well known.”
“A merit review would have delayed a determination by at least a further six to nine months, causing further prolonged uncertainty for the community,” the spokesperson continued.
“The department’s recommendation and the decision of the commission to refuse the project will be appropriately defended in court.”
The Land and Environment Court’s function in a merit appeal is to undertake the determination of the development application on its merits.
A spokesperson for the DPE advised “in this case, following the PAC’s determination on the Rocky Hill proposal, the community are entitled to participate in any appeal in front of the Land and Environment Court.”
The appeal is expected to be heard in August 2018.