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Monday, 09 October 2017

The NSW Government will introduce new laws to put downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices, protect energy security and jobs by ensuring the ongoing operation of the Mount Piper power station.

Mount Piper is supplied by the Springvale mine, which was threatened by a recent court decision. The Court of Appeal determined that the Planning Assessment Commission used an incorrect formula to determine the mine’s impacts on local water.

Minister for Energy and Utilities Don Harwin said the legislation would ensure Springvale could continue to supply the Mount Piper power station, which currently provides around 11 per cent of the state’s electricity. It also included significant protections for the environment.

Mr Harwin said the continued operation of the mine was vital for energy security and affordability.

“Springvale Mine is the sole current source of fuel for Mount Piper power station, and we are keen to avoid any disruption to its functions,” Mr Harwin said.

“My top priority as Energy Minister is to ensure NSW households and business have an affordable, secure and reliable energy supply – this decision supports that.”

Minister for Planning Anthony Roberts said that the new legislation would ensure that water quality was protected in the Sydney water catchment, confirming that mine or quarry developments must maintain or improve water quality. 

“We are committed to maintaining the highest water quality standards. That’s why the legislation will support the construction of a water treatment plant to eliminate saline discharges from the mine,” Mr Roberts said.

“This new treatment plant will see zero mine water discharge into the Coxs River, is supported by the EPA and WaterNSW and has separately been approved by the independent Planning Assessment Commission."

Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said Springvale Mine and the Mount Piper power station were major regional employers.

“The NSW Government is proud to support Lithgow workers and this legislation will ensure that 600 jobs are secured,” Mr Toole said. “I have been listening to the people of Lithgow and strongly advocating for them.”

The legislation to be introduced into Parliament will change the Environmental Planning and Assessment (EP&A) Act to clarify that projects in the Sydney water catchment seeking to expand must maintain or improve water quality compared to their existing consent, and will validate Springvale mine’s State Significant Development consent.

MEDIA: Chris Lawrence 0439 434 863