Miners may need to look for alternatives to mine camps

Action Group to look at Court verdict| Mudgee Guardian:

The Gulgong Community Action Group believes one of their strongest arguments against the development of a mining camp will come from a recent Supreme Court decision.

On June 14, the NSW Court of Appeal rejected Liverpool Plains Shire Council’s development consent for a 1500-bed mining village at Werris Creek. The appeal was sought by GrainCorp Operations Ltd who occupies the neighbouring property with a 24-hour grain terminal.

The Werris Creek mining village was being developed by The Mac Services Group – the same company looking to build a 400-bed camp at Black Lead Lane, Gulgong. NSW Court of Appeal Justices Margaret Beazley, Julie Ward and Ronald Sackville, dis- agreed with acting Land and Environment Court Justice David Lloyd’s decision in July, 2012, that saw the miners’ accommodation not prohibited under existing planning laws.

Mr Lloyd approved the village because it was a temporary feature, like a caravan park, housing a transient population and, therefore, not a residential dwelling. The NSW Court of Appeal Justices believed the 1500-bed mining village could not be built adjacent to the GrainCorp terminal because the land at the time was zoned as “agricultural”.

This decision will be seen to work in the Gulgong Community Action Group’s favour. The Mac Services Group’s Gulgong development was rejected by the Western Joint Regional Planning Panel on the basis Mid-Western Regional Council provided sufficient evidence that land was zoned incorrectly for Temporary Workers’ Accommodation. In their development application, The Mac Services Group declared the village as “tourist and visitor accommodation”.

The developers have also previously said Council’s Temporary Workers’ Accommodation Development Control Plan (DCP) should be given no weight. Under Council’s characterisation of the land at Black Lead Lane, The Mac believes their land use is permissible under what was the Draft Comprehensive Local Environment Plan (LEP).

Both The Mac Services Group and Mid-Western Regional Council are meeting in the Land and Environment Court as of next week over the matter. The Court has set up an on-site meeting at Black Lead Lane on Monday.

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