The Berejiklian Government should rule out any further plans to allow the development of an open-cut coal mine at Drayton South in the Hunter Valley, following a decision by the Planning Assessment Commission to reject the proposal for a fourth time. 

The uncertainty that has beset the Hunter Valley’s thoroughbred and wine industries for the past six years should now come to an end, Labor Leader Luke Foley said.

Planning Minister Anthony Roberts should now rule out any further mining activity by amending the existing State Environmental Planning Policy to ensure no further applications are made for the Drayton South project.

The thoroughbred industry has been forced to fight for its survival on a number of occasions seeing off repeated applications for the same project.

Last November at the NSW Labor Country Conference Mr Foley announced Labor’s plan to keep the thousands of good jobs in the thoroughbred and wine industries by imposing a minimum distance between those industries and mining.

While the coal industry will continue to be an important employer and contributor to NSW’s economic prosperity the Hunter Region’s economy must continue to diversify through the growth of the tourism, wine-making and horse-breeding industries.

The vineyard and tourism industries in the Hunter contribute $1.8 billion to the economy and directly employ more than 7,000 people while the Hunter’s thoroughbred industry employs 4,800 people.

Quotes attributable to Opposition Leader Luke Foley

"Now that the PAC has rejected the application for a fourth time that should be the end of it – the Hunter needs certainty over its future.

“Enough is enough. There should be no further applications. Any more applications would be an abuse of the planning system and will only prolong the uncertainty for the Hunter.

“Minister Roberts should put in place a new SEPP around the area to protect the important wine and thoroughbred industries that employ thousands of people in NSW.

“Leading thoroughbred industry players may be forced into relocating to another state if this Government’s inaction on this issue continues. We must not let that happen.

“Now is the time for the Minister to act in the interests of the Hunter and these important industries.”

Quotes attributable to Shadow Planning Minister Michael Daley

“Minister Roberts has announced another review. That’s not good enough. He should end the uncertainty once and for all by amending the State Environmental Planning Policy to prevent another Drayton South.

“These are industries that contribute billions of dollars to the NSW economy each year and employ thousands of people in regional and rural NSW. They need to be supported and enabled to grow.

“The responsibility falls on Premier Berejiklian to follow the lead set by Labor Leader Luke Foley and act to protect these industries.”