Singleton Council against Coal & Allied's mine expansion plan

FOLLOWING a confidential briefing, Singleton Council has voted to maintain its opposition to Coal & Allied’s mine expansion plans at Bulga.

The councillors also said they would continue to oppose the proposed closure of Wallaby Scrub Road, part of the company’s Mount Thorley Warkworth extension project.

The vote came after a closed meeting with the former lawyer and businessman Rod McGeoch who has been engaged by council general manager Lindy Hyam to negotiate a voluntary planning agreement with the company.

The agreement is part of the project’s state government approval and will deliver a multimillion-dollar community package.

In a resolution outlined after the closed meeting, councillors said they endorsed the ‘‘strategic approach’’ adopted by the council to achieve the best outcome for the community from the project.

Coal & Allied’s expansion plans will result in closing council’s Wallaby Scrub Road and mining through a ridge, earlier set aside for conservation.

Members of the Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association have launched legal action against the extension.

An association spokesman John Krey said yesterday the negotiations should be open to the public, but Ms Hyam and Mayor Sue Moore said open discussion of the negotiations would reveal information that could compromise the outcome for the community.

Mr Krey said he did not trust the council to share fairly the company’s community package with the community most affected by the expansion.

Under the terms of the approval, the council must enter into negotiations with the company within six months of the project approval or face legal sanctions and possibly a substantially reduced financial package.

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