Deputy Premier Rules Out Hawkins & Rumker Coal Areas
The NSW Deputy Premier Paul Tool’s surprise announcement today that he intended to rule out coal and petroleum exploration in the Hawkins & Rumker areas near Rylstone is incredible news for the local community, First Nations peoples, the environment and the climate, says Cate Faehrmann, Greens MP and environment spokesperson.
When asked by Ms Faehrmann at Budget Estimates today, if, as responsible Minister, he would be taking a recommendation to Cabinet to open up these new areas the Deputy Premier responded: "It is my intention to take this proposal to my colleagues, and it is my intention to actually rule it out ..... I tell you now I'll be taking a proposal to my colleagues to rule it out.”
The Minister’s stated reasons for ruling out opening up Hawkins & Rumker included the beauty of the area, social issues and questions around commercial viability.
“This is wonderful news, particularly as world leaders gather at COP26 in Glasgow and the UN calls for an urgent phase out of fossil fuels. I am now calling on the NSW Government to protect this culturally rich and environmentally significant area by adding it to the national parks estate,” said Ms Faehrmann.
“This area was originally left out of Wollemi National Park because of its potential for coal exploration. Opening it up now would have devastated the local community and the Dabee Wiradjuri people. It would have put 7,000 hectares of threatened ecological communities, countless Aboriginal heritage sites and our climate at risk.
“This area abuts the World Heritage-listed Wollemi National park and is so ecologically important that the Planning Minister Rob Stokes has previously supported its nomination to the National Heritage list when he was Environment Minister.
“These were the first of 14 potential future coal release areas to be considered by the NSW Government. The next up for consideration is Ganguddy-Kelgoola, close to Hawkins & Rumker. The same thinking must apply to this and be ruled out along with all new coal and gas projects in NSW,” said Ms Faehrmann.