Margs Coal Mining Freeze Sparks Demand For Similar Measures

The decision of the WA government to curb coal mining in the Margaret River region has sparked demands for protecting other tourist destinations across Australia.

Last week, Minister for Mines & Petroleum Norman Moore cancelled all the pending coal exploration permits within 230 sq km of the south west area.

The Tourism & Transport Forum said that the decision would put pressure on the NSW’s government to adopt similar measures for protecting the Hunter Valley winegrowing area. The forum’s Rowan Barker said it was important that the Hunter Valley is safeguarded from environmental damage.

The news article “Coal mining freeze in Margaret River area sparks call for similar moves” has all the information on this story. It quotes Mr Barker as saying, “We’d like to see some protection given to the wine and tourism industries in the Hunter Valley, not that we want to preclude coal mining altogether in NSW, that’s far from the case, but we do believe that some exclusion zones should apply around these high value wine and tourism areas.”

Mr Barker further noted that the intrinsic value of the wine tourism sector is something which deserves to be protected because if this amenity is lost, or if the crops are ruined, recovery may require decades of effort if not longer.

As of June 2012, there were 25 pending applications for coal exploration permits in Margaret River. The government’s decision comes amid strong community resistance to a coal mining proposal in the region and after WA’s Environmental Protection Authority emphasised that such activities posed undesirable environmental risks to the globally renowned wine, surfing and tourism destination.

Meanwhile, the Chamber of Minerals & Energy said it was disappointed every application wasn’t assessed on merit but Moore believes the decision will certainly save mining firms money and time. He said, “It’s not safe to mine it environmentally and so we’re saying to companies, withdraw your applications because you won’t get approval to mine.”

The Shire of Augusta Margaret River said the move would protect the natural beauty of the area. Shire president Ray Colyer said it was a victory for local residents who opposed the proposals and the ecological advantages far outweigh the forgone financial opportunities.

Environmental activist Ian Parmenter hailed the move as a huge victory for the South West. He believes coal mining in the area would’ve done significant environmental harm with little economic advantages.

About Benji

I am married and live on a farm near Margaret River with my wife, daughter and son. I set up The Margaret River Guide to assist people coming to Margaret River Western Australia to easily find what they are looking for. I also wanted to allow people to find activities they did not know about and to be able to openly comment on/ review businesses.

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