Community groups in the Hunter Valley have responded with relief and celebration to the announcement of a two-year delay to Newcastle’s proposed fourth coal terminal (T4).
“There will be celebration and relief today in suburbs including Mayfield, Tighes Hill and Carrington where residents already live with particle pollution well above the national standard,” said Coal Terminal Action Group spokesperson Ms Annika Dean.
“This is very welcome news for the 30,000 people who live within 500 metres of the coal corridor. The proposal to increase coal exports to 330 million tonnes each year would have meant almost constant coal trains with one going past their homes every 4 minutes.”
In announcing the delay, Port Waratah Coal Services indicated they still plan to expand their coal export capacity, either through constructing a fourth coal terminal or expanding the existing T3 on Kooragang Island.
Community groups are realistic in their assessment of the causes for the delay.
“The delay in approving and constructing T4 reflects a downturn in the global coal market and community pressure on the coal industry to protect community health,” said Ms Dean.
“Since the terminal was first proposed there has been widespread and sustained community opposition. Our concerns will not go away simply because T4 is delayed. We want it rejected.”
“There is still no sign that that the NSW Premier and Planning Minister take the Hunter’s air pollution problem seriously or that they will protect community health before considering new coal infrastructure.”