Ridiculous exaggerations and distortions have dominated discussions over the Watermark mine. The community deserves the facts, and evidence on this important project rather than the irresponsible scaremongering being undertaken by some.
"Discussions around the Commonwealth approval of Shenhua's Watermark mine have been dominated by some outlandish exaggerations by those opposing the mine. There has been virtually no regard for the facts, nor consideration of the huge economic benefits to the community, including hundreds of jobs, that this project will bring," NSW Minerals Council CEO, Stephen Galilee said today.
"The Shenhua project will create 625 local jobs during the peak construction phase with 425 jobs during operation, in a region experiencing an unemployment rate of 7.5%," Mr Galilee said.
"The local State Member, Kevin Anderson understands this, telling local radio that '...the broader community has spoken very clearly - particularly around Gunnedah - that they want this mine, and they want the jobs.' "
Mayor of Gunnedah, Owen Hasler has also openly supported the project telling Sydney radio '...after nearly seven years, four expert reviews, two reviews by the Federal Independent Expert Scientific Committee, and also the PAC hearings here in Gunnedah, we don't know what else could be undertaken to assuage those people's concerns."
"Business leaders in Gunnedah also recognise the strong contribution the Watermark project will make. The Gunnedah Chamber of Commerce says its survey shows that three quarters of local businesses want the mine to proceed. Chamber President, Ann Luke told ABC's 7:30: 'Our town has been declining in population until we started getting some mines in the region and that was not a good thing for business, not a good thing for our schools, not a good thing for lots of things in our region. If you walk around Woolies at six o'clock at night, if you go into the pubs, if you see the number of houses that have been built; all of that money from mining filters into the community.' "
"There are also numerous myths being propagated about the Watermark project that are simply not supported by the facts. The fact is the Watermark mine will not be located on the black-soil plains but in the ridge country adjacent to the plains. It will not be a 35 square kilometre pit with an actual working pit being no more than around 1.5 square kilometres at any one time - 23 times smaller than claimed. The project will also be subject to rolling rehabilitation during the life of the project. The project will not be operated by foreign workers, but will provide hundreds of jobs for local people," Mr Galilee said.
"The Federal Independent Expert Scientific Committee (IESC) as well as four Independent reviews have thoroughly investigated and assessed the project and established that the impact of the project with local groundwater is not significant."
"The fact is, this vital job-creating project has been thoroughly assessed over a period of seven years. It has been through an incredibly rigorous approval process and has been approved. Shenhua should now be allowed to get on with this project, that will create jobs and contribute to the economic strength of the New England Northwest and NSW,” Mr Galilee said.