Seismic mapping in Lake Macquarie
31st January 2020
I’ve just had a call from Centennial CEO Peter Parry to inform me that testing will be delayed a week to allow for better consultation and explanation. I applaud that move and hopefully the community can get the answers it deserves.
My office has taken hundreds of calls today relating to the planned seismic surveying about to be undertaken by Centennial Coal in Lake Macquarie. I apologise if people have had trouble getting through to my office.
There's a couple of things I need to address:
* I have today written to the Government and relevant Ministers asking that this surveying be immediately deferred from Monday's planned start date because it should not go ahead while questions remain unanswered.
* I'll be sending the same request to Centennial shortly.
* I share the community's concerns about the possible environmental impacts of this type of seismic surveying. The reports that I've seen do say there could be impacts on marine life and we must know more about those impacts before this process is allowed to proceed.
* Like most, I was only made aware of the surveying when a community environment group flagged it with me yesterday, so I'm disappointed in the level of community engagement from Centennial.
* Those things said, the seismic and magnetic surveying planned is very different to that which was proposed off the coast and it's important that is understood.
*It should also be noted that Centennial has approval to do the testing and mapping which is actually a condition of the mine's original approval. The work is required to ensure that the underground mines are not flooded, and that is of great importance to guarantee the safety of the miners. This process is not a search for new coal seams, it is a safety requirement of the existing mine's operation.
* I also have to say that Centennial has complied with what is required of them. I don't think those requirements are adequate, but they have the required consents to proceed.
* As someone who has been significantly involved in the remediation of the lake over many decades, there is no way I can support this process when so little is known about the potential impacts, particularly on marine life.
* As I mentioned earlier, I have asked the Ministers and Centennial to consider the enormous angst in the community that has emerged over the past two days. To allow the process to go ahead on Monday when so many questions remain would be wrong. Any work should be deferred until we get some answers.