HAVE YOUR SAY

YOUR SAY: Local MPs decide it's ok to mine under Dam

Some Leader readers are not happy with recent decisions of Liberal MPs Lee Evans, Mark Speakman and Eleni Petinos.

Some Leader readers are not happy with recent decisions of Liberal MPs Lee Evans, Mark Speakman and Eleni Petinos.

Mark Speakman, Eleni Petinos and Lee Evans ignored a petition signed by 10,700 residents. Mark Speakman says he gave the issue of mining under Woronora Dam close consideration; he did not deem mining under the dam important enough to attend the debate in State Parliament. Eleni Petinos said "very few constituents" had contacted her about mining under the dam. Ms Petinos did not participate in the debate; unless the issue could threaten her re-election, it would seem she is uninterested. Lee Evans did attend the debate and stated that he was "confident that the restrictions around water for this mine will preserve water quality." I do not share his confidence. The present mining around Woronora Dam has already caused significant damage. Swamps have been drained; creek and river beds are cracked; at present, we are losing thousands of litres of water daily. Pristine tributary water has turned orange. Don't be concerned; it's only our drinking water!! It would appear that neither political party, Liberal or Labor are concerned. Jobs are cited for the approval to extend the mine. WATER IS PRICELESS! Once the water is gone, so are communities.

Denise Wiltshire, Heathcote

Did MPs read the report?

Mr Speakman is quoted as "given close consideration to this important issue". I wonder how much time he gave to reviewing the final report of the Independent Expert Panel for Mining in the Catchment. What I identified from trying to wade through the 80 plus pages of the report is brought into sharp focus by this paragraph from the Executive Summary near the beginning of the report.

"The Panel has had regard to the fact that mining activities are being undertaken in a complex and relatively unique combination of geotechnical, hydrogeological and environmental conditions, with an incomplete design knowledge base that is still evolving and which may never be complete, and with high potential consequences if mine design is inappropriate for the circumstances".

The implications of this paragraph are reinforced throughout the report, clearly indicating that there is not enough substantive scientific data to suggest mining in our catchment areas does not pose a threat to our water supplies.

Mr Speakman and Ms Petinos were not even in the chamber for the debate on this issue...pathetic.

Mark Howden, Kirrawee

Drinking water in jeopardy

Big mining companies are not renowned for protecting the environment as they gouge their way across the country. Rio Tinto recently destroyed an irreplaceable 46,000-year-old Aboriginal heritage site in the Hamersley Ranges. And last week it was reported that Tahmoor Colliery had further damaged and polluted two creeks around the Picton area caused by the extraction of coal - the second time in 4 years. Yet, the government continues to give its approval for mining to continue there. You would think that water contaminated with toxic mining runoff would ring alarm bells? Apparently not.

Now it's our community's turn to be concerned. In the Shire, we are prohibited from entering our local catchment areas. Still, the mining giants are given permission, even though mining has caused considerable damage to creeks, with some groundwater levels not recovering. Filtering swamps which help keep our water clean are drying out; pristine tributary water has turned orange and become contaminated. Not content to mine around the reservoir, Peabody Energy now wants to do potentially destructive longwall mining UNDER Woronora Dam! The word 'greed' comes to mind.

Our Indigenous people maintained and nurtured their land for thousands of years; I think we, as caretakers now, have fallen far short in protecting the environment.

What will it take for governments to put the protection of our waterways, ecosystems and wildlife ahead of profit and greed?

Woronora Dam supplies 100% of drinking water to Helensburgh, Waterfall, Heathcote and Engadine, and to other parts of the Shire. Concerned residents have written letters and in February 2020 submitted a petition to parliament with 10,700 signatures. What more can we do? Over to you, State Government.

L & S Henderson, Heathcote.

Isn't Lee Evans in government?

Why does Lee Evans call on motorists to demand a four-lane bridge on Heathcote Road? Isn't he the MP for Heathcote, with his party in power? Only now that the horse has well and truly bolted does he urge us to step up and take part in a 'community consultation'. We all know this is a box-ticking, window-dressing exercise conducted after the fact. What is the point of having an MP from the ruling party? We'd be far better off living in a marginal seat.

Sue McKinnon, Engadine

Disrespectful protesters 

Defacing public monuments like the statues of Capt Cook is so disrespectful it beggars belief. Whatever the consequences of what followed his arrival to this "great southern land" we now have a wonderful free society, where you can do almost anything you want within reason, including protests.

To those who disagree and think the Indigenous people had a better way of life before 1770, then perhaps a visit to Arnhem Land might be appropriate. Just leave behind your housing, with running hot and cold water, the shops for food and clothing, your bike or car with roads that take you anywhere you'd like to have a holiday Or perhaps a train ride or plane trip... to see a relative. Just leave that all behind and see how far you get and without Doctors and Dentists and other practices... go on, off you go.

Phil Gannon, Miranda.

Water charges

In regards to the government linking the price of water to dam levels, would it not be more intelligent (lousy word for a politician I know) to build and invest in water storage infrastructure? They tell us we need another million homes, so what are they going to do for water? Maybe we link their wages to productivity. I think they will be paying us. Let's get rid of state level of government altogether. We have federal level representatives and councils, why do we need people who have no idea on how to future proof our state but know how to rip us off and dig into our pockets. Peter Long, Miranda