A record number of speakers are scheduled to put their case against the proposed T4 coal loader in Newcastle this week when the Planning Assessment Commission conducts public hearings into the application by Port Waratah Coal Services.
More than 130 individuals and representatives of organisations are listed to speak during the two days of hearings, which start at 1.30pm on Tuesday, August 26, at the Newcastle Panthers Club.
“This is the largest number of presenters ever to have registered for a single PAC hearing, which demonstrates the depth and breadth of opposition to this dirty polluting proposal,” said NSW Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski.
“More than 90 per cent of speakers are opposed to the project, and they will be urging the commissioners to recommend it be refused because of the very serious negative impacts it would have on public health and the environment.”
The Environmental Defender’s Office, which is representing the Hunter Community Environment Centre at the hearing, has engaged six experts in the fields of public health, economics and ecology who will present evidence early on day two of the hearing (Wednesday, 8am–9.30am).
“T4 is of state and national significance, because the damage it will do to the community and the environment goes far beyond Newcastle and the Hunter,” HCEC spokesman Dr John Mackenzie said.
“The fourth coal loader would lead to more than 170 million tonnes of greenhouse pollution being pumped into the atmosphere every year, more than is currently produced by every power station, vehicle, mine and industrial process in NSW.
“It is hard to imagine how the commissioners could recommend approving this project if they gave due weight to the harm it will do.”
Other speakers include representatives of the Coal Terminal Action Group (CTAG), a coalition of 20 organisations, Doctors for the Environment, the Australia Institute, The Wilderness Society, Our Land Our Water Our Future, Lock the Gate and the NSW National Parks Association.
CTAG has organised a public demonstration for noon on Tuesday outside Newcastle Panthers before the commission convenes.