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Cr Greg Clancy

Greens councillor revisits CVC’s anti-mining stance

Geoff Helisma

Clarence Valley Council’s only declared politically-aligned councillor, Greg Clancy, tabled a motion at yesterday’s March 30 CVC meeting, to restate CVC’s anti-mining stance.

At the November 24, 2020, CVC meeting, councillors voted six to one (Cr Baker was opposed and councillors Williamson and Kingsley were absent) to “oppose mining in the Clarence River catchment”.

Councillor Clancy’s motion – tabled after the Independent’s editorial deadline – is a response to Deputy Premier John Barilaro’s letter to CVC, which rejected CVC’s plea to impose a moratorium on mining in the Clarence Valley’s river catchment.

Following the November decision, CVC wrote to Mr Barilaro, NSW Minister for Energy and Environment Matt Kean, state Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis and federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan – Mr Barilaro responded  on behalf of himself and Mr Kean; Mr Gulaptis and Mr Hogan had not responded, according to CVC’s meeting papers.

Councillor Clancy’s motion sought to “thank” Mr Barilaro “for his response on behalf of the Minister for Energy and Environment Matt Kean”, and to “advise that CVC was not seeking an explanation of the process of developing mining in the Clarence Valley, but was advising the state government of its strong opposition to mining in the Valley”.

The rest of his motion stated: “Advise [Mr] Barilaro that the council, representing the community’s strong opposition, is seeking support for the Clarence Valley to be identified as a no-go zone for mining due to its almost unique natural and cultural values, many of which depend on the Clarence River, and which support essential and valuable industries contributing to the local economy;

“Write to the Premier of New South Wales, Gladys Berejiklian, advising her of Council’s resolution and seeking her support for a moratorium on mining in the Clarence Valley;

“[and], write to the adjoining councils that have responsibility for areas draining into the Clarence River catchment requesting that they support council’s stand and ask them to pass resolutions to oppose mining in areas affecting the Clarence River catchment.”

In February, the Independent asked Mr Barilaro: In November 2020, Clarence Valley Council resolved to, and I quote, ‘oppose mining in the Clarence River catchment [and] … seek the support of both state and federal governments, to impose a moratorium on further mining exploration licences and to cancel existing licences’, largely due to the threat it poses to the Clarence River (the lifeblood of the valley’s key industries, tourism, agricultural and fishing): how will the NSW Government protect the valley’s tourism, fishing and agricultural sectors from any potential mining disaster if the government continues encouraging miners to explore for minerals that will be in demand as we transfer towards renewable energy?”

Mr Barilaro answered, in part: “…you talk about mining in a way that it is bad, that it can’t be done in a safe way. So my answer is we’ll continue to do what we’ve always done: work with the communities, work with the mining sector and make sure that we only mine in areas we are comfortable with.”

Full report on the outcome of the motion in next week’s Independent.

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