The next #leardblockade bat attack on #liverpoolplains, by local Ros Druce

Roselyn Druce

Roselyn Druce

Farmer Ros Druce was born at Narrabri, and has lived at Maules Creek ever since, except for a short time in Dubbo between 1999 and 2006. She comes from a third-generation farming family. She, her father, and her children all attended the local ‘Fairfax’ school that celebrated its centenary in 2010. “I am passionate about this Maules Creek district where both of my parents grew up, where I was born and my children were born,” Ros says.
Roselyn Druce

Stop Work…Independent Audit into the Approval of Whitehaven’s Maules Creek Project…Before the Forest Falls!

I wonder if Nathan Tinkler ever envisaged so much opposition from the locals of Maules Creek when he planned to exploit the Leard State Forest and surrounding farming district to build Aston Coal Mine? Aston Resources merged with Whitehaven after Mr Tinkler’s empire came to a crashing halt, the company is now simply known as ‘The Maules Creek Project’ or Whitehaven Coal. Tarrawonga Coal Mine also destroying the forest is jointly owned by Whitehaven and Idemitsu (Boggabri Coal).

The Whitehaven Coal Mine was given a ‘Claytons’ tick of approval by Tony Burke just prior to an election…with the excuse that a certain ‘Letter’ was leaked by Chris Hatcher, so his hand was forced to approve the project.

Just prior to an election, Whitehaven have had their project in the Leard State Forest ‘sanctified’ by the Premier Mike Baird.

DÉJÀ VU….

The only difference now is that, just prior to an election, the Leard State Forest is at the mercy of the Whitehaven Bulldozers, not just a Clayton’s approval with conditions.

On the 15th of February Whitehaven have ‘permission’ to clear more of the Critically Endangered forest.

Yet the Regional Biodiversity Plan, which is a combined plan for the cumulative impact by the three mines, Idemitsu, Tarrawonga, and Whitehaven, is nowhere to be seen. It should have been submitted 12months ago! Will there be any retribution for this non-compliance? I doubt it!

This Biodiversity plan is supposed to show how the mines impact on the ecosystem of the Leard State Forest and how these impacts can be mitigated….yet where is this plan?

Four independent Ecologists submitted their findings to the Department of Planning stating that Offsets purchased by Whitehaven were not Like for Like, yet all this was ignored? The department took the word of ecologists being paid by the mine to do the surveys, without any scrutiny, follow-up or investigation by the DoP. (Offsets are meant to mitigate the loss of habitat and be equal to or better in quality than that which it is ‘replacing’).

Where have we failed? We haven’t, the DoP and the Environment Ministers have failed the Australian People, not just here at the Leard, but all around the country; the Great Barrier Reef, the Pilliga, Bentley, Gloucester, the Liverpool plains and where ever people are standing and protecting our Australian Environment.

It seems that it is all up to the people to protect the Environment.

The Maules Creek Community Council took Whitehaven to the Land and Environment court mid last year to stop the winter clearing and slaughter of hibernating fauna. This was successful even if Whitehaven said that they ‘Voluntarily’ stopped clearing…just another ploy and media spin to their share- holders I guess.

396 species of Fauna and Flora, 34 species are Vulnerable or Endangered; Bats, Birds, Reptiles or Flora that call the Critically Endangered Leard State Forest their home, yet it is in the sights of Whitehaven’s bulldozers?

How can there be a final Void over 300mts deep that doesn’t have to be filled and rehabilitated, is it simply because it is part of the Whitehaven mine?

ICAC have linked many top profile names to the Maules Creek Mine. Until there is an Independent Audit of the Approval of this mine or a Royal Commission into how this mine has been allowed to proceed to this point when so many unanswered questions hang over it there will be no retribution for destruction to this forest that can ever be reversed.

A Sanctification ritual of Whitehaven by our Fly-in Fly-out Premier was performed on the day Mike Baird announced the Drought Relief Package for farmers. What a joke…while the drought relief should have been addressed long ago he thought he could hide the fact that the government is in bed with the mining industry, destroying the future of many farmers on the Liverpool Plains…the Leard State Forest is within the bounds of the Liverpool Plains, and houses the last remaining intact Critically Endangered White Box woodland!

Premier Baird and entourage wafted around the region landing here and there touting how important the farming community is to the economy and that this Drought Relief Package would be of great assistance to the farmers, somehow he was denying that digging up some of the most productive farming land, bulldozing a Critically Endangered Forest and threatening our underground water by predominantly foreign owned mining companies wouldn’t matter because these mining companies are so important to the economy.

As with many mining projects the destruction caused by open-cut mines will be felt for generations to come.

Today we still stand strong as a small community with a lot of guts and a big heart knowing that the truth will eventually come out. For those that have perpetrated such unlawful and disrespectful actions against the environment and the community as a whole by allowing the destruction of Gomeroi Cultural heritage to be wilfully destroyed and then denying access to the First Nations People to heal this desecration to their sites, justice will be done and those responsible will be held accountable.

People are standing up and protecting the environment from destruction. This is the only thing left for them to do after the system has failed.

There will be a huge convergence of people on the 13th of February at Maules Creek ‘celebrating’ people power and unity with other like mined caring citizens from far and wide. The ‘Bat Attack’ is yet another of the Front Line Action on Coal’s initiatives, in recognition of the 15 species of tiny microbats and all other species that will have their habitat destroyed if Whitehaven Bulldoze the forest on the 15th of this month.

The ‘Bat Attack’ is a family friendly place for people to come together and help defend the future for our children!

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