THE NSW Government has refused to provide interim heritage protection for iconic Bylong property Tarwyn Park after the Heritage Council of NSW found it faced no “immediate threat”, despite its purchase for an open cut coal mine.
Heritage minister Gabrielle Upton refused interim protection a week after a Planning Assessment Commission found Tarwyn Park and neighbouring property Iron Tank had greater heritage significance than had previously been documented by Korean mining company KEPCO, or considered by the Department of Planning or Heritage Council.
The PAC issued a scathing assessment of KEPCO’s proposal for an open cut and underground mine to produce 120 million tonnes of coal, and criticised KEPCO for a “relatively superficial treatment” of the profound social impacts of its buy-up program which “depopulated” the valley. KEPCO acquisitions including Tarwyn Park and Iron Tank, Bylong Public School, a Catholic church building and Bylong general store.
Lock the Gate spokesperson Nic Clyde said the group was disappointed by the decision not to provide interim protection to a property which is a “living laboratory” for Peter Andrews’ natural sequence farming methods.
“There is an obvious immediate threat to Tarwyn Park in leaving the management of it with a company that has an interest in destroying the heritage significance of the place,” Mr Clyde said.
The Heritage Council’s July minutes confirm a PAC-commissioned heritage assessment concluded Tarwyn Park and Iron Tank had potential for state heritage register listing and was in the process of being considered, which Mr Clyde said was good news.
“KEPCO is downplaying the heritage significance of these properties because it wants to dig up the properties to build a new coal mine, but we expect the heritage minister to use her powers to stop this damage. It is clear that Tarwyn Park and Iron Tank deserve the protection that a state heritage register listing would afford.”