Tonight’s People’s Hearing into T4 held at Newcastle City Hall heard compelling evidence from experts and concerned residents who presented a strong case for the NSW Government to reject the proposed fourth coal terminal. The hearing was a ‘practice run’ for the Planning Assessment Commission due early 2014.
“The economic case for T4 unravelled tonight,” said Ms Mozeley. “We heard that PWCS has based their predictions of jobs and revenue created by T4 on a type of economic modeling that has been widely rejected as biased and inappropriate for developments of this nature.”
“The initial 120 million tonne per annum coal terminal wasn’t expected to create any new jobs, yet PWCS says the smaller 70 Mtpa terminal will create 80 jobs. That just doesn’t stack up,” Ms Mozeley said.
Approximately 150 people packed the City Hall venue to hear a series of 20 presentations from local residents, community environmentalists and expert witnesses including ecologists, environmental scientists and medical researchers.
“If the real commissioners had been present tonight, we’re confident they would have recommended that the NSW Government rejects the proposed coal terminal on economic, ecological and social grounds,” said Coal Terminal Action Group spokesperson Ms Fee Mozeley.
The Hearing was convened by an alliance of 20 community groups to encourage residents to make submissions on the revised coal terminal proposal. Port Waratah Coal Services released their Preferred Project Report for the coal terminal in September. Community groups have successfully argued for an extended public comment period until 22 November.
Australia Institute Economist Rod Campbell addressed the hearing via teleconference, presenting his initial critique of PWCS’s claims regarding the regional economic impact of T4.
Health researchers Dr Ben Ewald and Associate Professor Nick Higginbotham presented evidence of the current adverse health impacts from uncovered coal wagons and stockpiles, and spoke of the unresolved cancer cluster amongst workers at the existing Kooragang Island terminal (T3).