New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council Opposes Charcoal Plant


Wednesday, 1 May 2002 **********Media Release***************


The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) has joined residents and business people of the South Coast area, environmentalists and tourism groups in opposition to the controversial charcoal plant near Mogo, approved by the NSW Government today.

“As representatives of the local Aboriginal communities and custodians of this land, we feel we must unite to oppose this charcoal plant. It will present health risks to our community, destruction of our environment, harm to the tourism industry and it is an unwelcome imposition on our community by a desperate State Government,” NSWALC Councillor for the Far South Coast Region, Ossie Cruse and Chairman of NSWALC, Rod Towney said in a joint statement today.

The State Government today gave the go ahead for the charcoal factory near Mogo. Carbon produced at this factory will be transported to Lithgow to fuel a silicon smelter.

“After promising jobs to Lithgow for seven years and failing to get the support of local communities in Gunnedah and Dubbo for a plant of this nature, the Premier has dumped this project on one of the most beautiful parts of the State.

“The Eurobodalla Shire Council is against it, our residents are opposed to it but Premier Carr has ignored us and pushed ahead because he made a promise of jobs to the Lithgow people. We will be asking Premier Carr if this development would be going ahead if it was a safe Labor seat.”

Last week all ten Local Aboriginal Land Councils of the Far South Coast Region met at an extraordinary meeting in Mogo to unite against the plant following overwhelming opposition from local Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal residents.

Apart from the environmental and health concerns related to the plant, the NSWALC would also like to make it clear that it has been mis-represented by Environmental Resources Management Australia Pty Ltd, the company which conducted the Environmental Impact Study for the site.

“That document states that we were consulted over this. That’s grossly misleading. This document is an affront to us,” Mogo LALC Co-ordinator Fred Nye said.

“A Land Council officer did visit the site with ERMA but he was not shown the total area for the proposed plant and never told there would be a ‘charcoal plant’ on the site.”

Chairman of the NSWALC, Rod Towney, said the NSW Aboriginal Land Council will support the Local Aboriginal Land Councils and do all in its power to stop this plant going ahead.

“This is our country and it is beautiful country and we will fight to keep it that way.”

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