Greens criticise Labor over Wallarah 2 coal mine opposition

The push by Labor to ban coal mining at the controversial Wallarah 2 site continues to threaten the $800 million project, but has attracted criticism from the Greens.

The Greens claim that new bill, to be introduced by Labor MP Luke Foley this week, will damage other moves to ban mining across the central coast of NSW.

Foley claims that the Wallarah 2 project, worth $5 million tonnes of coal per year, will put drinking supplies at risk if it goes ahead.

Earlier this month Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham introduced a bill to prohibit mining projects and prevent licence renewals in seven water catchment areas along the central coast, however the upper house, including Labor, voted to prevent debate on the bill, due to the risk to mining jobs in the area.

The Wallarah 2 project was opposed by Barry O’Farrell while in opposition, who gave his guarantee that the mine would not go ahead under a Coalition government because of the risk to water catchment in the Wyong area.

Mr Foley said the bill, which will cancel planning approvals if passed, was intended to force Mr O'Farrell to ''honour that commitment with the legislation that he promised''.

The Greens have accused Labor of letting the Premier “off the hook” and bowing to union pressure.

The government has failed to explain why it broke its promise on Wallarah 2, which has become increasingly contentious, with the Premier under scrutiny for meetings with businessman Nick Di Girolamo, who lobbied the government over the mine proposal.

Di Girolamo is under investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Disgraced MP Craig Thompson raised opposition against the mine last year with a private member's bill, which was rejected by then prime minister Julia Gillard.

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