Camberwell residents fight for Common

Residents of Camberwell in the Hunter are at loggerheads over mining in the common and say it will damage business and lifestyle in the region.

The legal battle through the Environmental Defenders’ Office is unpleasant but necessary, Camberwell farmer Tracey Maytom told the Newcastle Herald.

She said losing the common would potentially force her family to move from the land, reducing profitability as a business.

Dust would increase and contaminate the dairy’s milk if half the common is used for mining, Maytom said.

‘‘They don’t take your milk if there’s dust in it, so it ends up being a waste of time and money,’’ she said.
‘‘That would be the end. We’re stuck in a circle of mines as it is, we’re completely surrounded.

"This [legal challenge] is the lesser of two evils.

‘‘I’ve spoken to other friends and they say just move, but where do you go?’’

Yesterday it was reported that Camberwell residents are against a decision removing 90 hectares of common from trust control last year.

Following a mining lease application lodged by White Mining in May last year, a mining lease was given to Ashton Coal after the land was resumed by former state lands minister Tony Kelly.

The New South Wales government, White Mining and Ashton Coal have all been served with notices of legal proceedings and the matter is listed for directions on 18 April.

The removal of the common from the Trust after it’s 135 year control was devastating for much of the community.

Trust Spokesman Deidre Aolofsson told the ABC it has been a tough year.

"I mean a lot of tears and the way it happened, it was just unbelievable and it was actually disgusting," she said.

"Things we’ve learnt, it’s just been not fair.

"We’ve decided we’ve got to fight and this is our last fight and we’ve got to have a go.

"People have to stand-up and fight for what’s right and for the future of Camberwell and it’s important the land is everybody not just for one company."

Olofsson said the Trust has worked hard to build a solid case to take to court.

"Problem is trying to get the information, we got some under Freedom of Information, but the last bit of information we only got a few weeks ago and that’s what was the biggest hold-up," she said.

"It’s all to do with the procedure and how it was done.

"Well, we hope that it returns back to the Common Trust and then it will be there forevermore and for future generations and that’s the most important thing."

Image: The Newcastle Herald

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