Will State Forests become quarries?
Many of our members and colleagues have been busy writing submissions and campaigning against the proposed Stone Ridge Quarry expansion into Wallaroo State Forest. Firstly a very BIG thank you to everyone who sent in comments objecting to this ridiculous proposal to dig up a state forest. YOU MADE A DIFFERENCE!
There were well over the 50 objections needed to take it to the Independent Planning Commission. In fact, a huge 135 objections out of a total of 159 submissions with only 17 supporting and 7 comments. As a grass-roots campaign, there are so many people involved that should be acknowledged but the main drivers have been from the Save Balickera Group especially Anna Kerr, Charlee Connor and Steve Larsen.
‘We’re here today as concerned residents and members of various local community groups. We have asked our MP to take our concerns to the relevant Ministers whose portfolios are responsible for ensuring our public lands, our State Forests, remain a valued resource for now and future generations’.Anna Kerr, Save Balickera inc.
We also acknowledge the in-depth research, expert advice and ongoing support from Jo at Hunter Community Environment Centre, Margarete from VoWW, Megan from Gloucester Environment Group, Knitting Nannas, Coral from Boomerang Park Group, Kathy and Ewa from EcoNetwork and Koala Koalition’s Carmel.
The fight is far from over – but this is the next step. For those who are interested in getting up to speed on this campaign, we have collated much of the work that has been done to date. This information will be easily accessible here as we continue with this campaign.
The Australian Resource Development Group is required to release a response to submissions and a submission report by 3 November 2023.
Work of the Coalition
Below we have created a repository of many, not all, of the submissions, flyers, posters, media interviews, and other communications that our wonderful hardworking coalition of community groups have been working on for months.
Sixteen groups issued a clarion call to the Commonwealth Environment & Water Minister to stop the Stone Ridge Quarry Project, due to the unacceptable impacts it poses to Matters of National Environmental Significance. Read the Open letter to Tanya Plibersek – Stop Stone Ridge quarry
Comments made by the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Water contained in the Environmental Impact Statement for the Project that clearly state Stone Ridge would cause “significant impacts” to the Koala including “…The assessment indicates the Project will lead to a long-term decrease of suitable koala habitat.
The direct loss of 100 hectares of State Forest providing habitat for 10 Threatened and Critically Endangered species followed by three decades worth of noise, vibration, dust and light pollution impacts associated with the operation of Stone Ridge Quarry will result in ongoing disruption to sensitive flora and fauna and degradation of incredibly high-value, connected habitat in the areas of National Park and Nature Reserve that surround it.
These harmful ‘indirect’ impacts are already being experienced from the operation of the nearby Seaham quarry. The Eagleton quarry proposal also threatens the community and environment with more of these same impacts. (Source: HCEC webpage).
- Community and environment coalition rallies against stone ridge quarry – Port Stephens Examiner
- Hunter groups ask environment minister Tanya Plibersek to stop Stone Ridge Quarry project – Newcastle Herald
There was a great deal of frustration experienced by people trying to submit via the Planning Portal. It frequently crashed or was unavailable. Although the response period was extended, these problems continued and some people had to end up emailing or posting their submissions. We believe there would have been many more submissions successfully submitted if not for the Planning Portal’s glitch. The campaign organisers have made their concerns known to our member Kate Washington and to the NSW Government Planning Department.
Here is a small selection of the objections submitted -there are many more on the government website including those in support or those providing comment.
- VOWW Submission – Stone Creek Quarry
- EcoNetwork Port Stephens
- Save Balickera Submission – Stone Ridge Quarry
- TRRA Submission – Stone Ridge Quarry
- PSC Submission to EIS – Stone Ridge Quarry Project
Remainder of submissions on Portal here:
Websites and videos:
- Save Balickera inc
- ABC Report from Romy Stephens
- EcoNetwork Port Stephens – Stone Ridge Quarry call for submissions
- Hunter Community Environment Centre – details and maps
- Thank goodness for responsible dog owners.