Springvale Mine legislation passed by state parliament

MOVING FORWARD: Springvale Mine's 2015 approval has been validated by new legislation. Picture:  Wolter Peeters
MOVING FORWARD: Springvale Mine's 2015 approval has been validated by new legislation. Picture: Wolter Peeters

A bill that secures the continued operation of Springvale Mine until 2028 has been passed by both houses of the state parliament. 

Amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act approving Springvale’s extended operation until 2028 and winding back laws protecting Sydney’s drinking water from continued projects in the catchment were passed in the Legislative Council on the night of Wednesday, October 12. 

NSW Minister for Energy and Utilities Don Harwin introduced a bill into the Legislative Council on Wednesday morning. The bill had already passed through the Legislative Assembly without amendment on Tuesday. 

Centennial Coal has released a statement saying the NSW government has successfully secured Springvale’s future.

“Therefore Springvale can continue to supply coal to Mt Piper power station and both Springvale and Mt Piper can also continue meeting the energy needs of NSW. Importantly it also provides the certainty Centennial needs to deliver on the commitment to construct a water treatment facility, representing an investment of over $100 million,” the statement reads.

“The water treatment facility is the environmental solution that was sought by the EPA, and even supported by Springvale’s detractors and will redirect water, otherwise discharged to the Coxs River to Mt Piper Power Station, for use in the Station's cooling towers.”

“We will now seek to vacate the Court Hearing in the Land and Environment Court scheduled next week.”

The NSW Environmental Defenders Office, who were representing 4Nature in the court challenge against Springvale Mine’s approval, said that if the legislation passed by Thursday the full hearing scheduled for October 16-17 was unlikely to go ahead. 

Labor supported keeping Springvale Mine open, however energy shadow minister Adam Searle, who visited Springvale Mine on Monday, did move opposition amendments to the bill removing changes to the ‘Neutral or Beneficial’ test that will weaken the water protection laws for continued projects in the entirety of Sydney’s water catchment. 

Labor’s amendments were not adopted by the upper house. 

“They're using Springvale as a Trojan horse," Mr Searle said.

MP Paul Toole announced the government’s intention to introduce a bill to validate Springvale’s approval on Monday at a press conference in Bathurst. 

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