The Rocky Hill Coal Mine is threatening the beautiful Gloucester Valley.
AGM 2018 Report
3 October 2018

Dear Members and Supporters
The Groundswell Gloucester AGM was held on 27 September 2018.

The following Management Committee members were elected:
President - Julie Lyford
Vice President - Ed Robinson
Secretary - Sue Kingston
Treasurer - Tina Robinson
Ordinary Members - Di Montague, John Watts, Jeff Kite.
President’s report for 2017-2018

As we live on the lands of the Worimi and Biripi First Nations people, we pay our respect to elders past, present and to those leaders of the future.
This has been a huge year for so many - our community has weathered and admirably countered the Rocky Hill Coal mine proposal in all its phases. From the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process, then the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) process - and now the appeal.

Thousands of hours have gone into writing submissions, meetings, minutes, press releases, lobbying, fundraising, supporting, arranging interviews, court appearances - the list is endless.

Without the support, either financial, time given or from afar we would be in a different position today. We are extremely grateful to the many hundreds of people who have stood by this and other fights against the coal and coal seam gas industry over a period of approx 15 + years. Many of us started our activism when Gloucester Coal opened its boutique mine in the mid-nineties.

How can we ever acknowledge so many people and organisations - many activism groups; small to large, Lock The Gate Steve Phillips and George Woods, the incredible Knitting Nannas - the list is endless.

On behalf of Groundswell Gloucester we would like to thank all of our members and supporters for the dedication and support you have given in so many ways. The personal cost to many has been great. The friendships made are without doubt one of the major positive outcomes.

The 2017/2018 team of Groundswell - Graeme Healy, Sue Kingston, John Watts, Ed Robinson, Di Montague, Jeff Kite, Steve Robinson, Gerald McCalden and myself thank you for your support.

As we await the decision from the NSW Land and Environment Court regarding the Rocky Hill appeal, it is time to rest, restore our lives to normality and get back to enjoying our community and sense of place.
We deeply appreciate the support of the NSW EDO and our legal Counsel Robert White. We thank the expert witnesses, those who travelled to the court every day, the coffee, lunch, shifting sands - ultimately every day was a good day.

Gloucester community has been interviewed, assessed, documented, diarised and has birthed an author or two.
We have assisted researchers in finishing a few PhD’s on our situation, thrown a few parties and watched films, held trivia nights and wine/music afternoons to fill our time! It has been a great pleasure being on this journey with so many wonderful people who care.

Groundswell will continue to morph into sustainability and education, as climate change is the biggest priority facing human kind and the planet. We can do it with fun, make sure we laugh, enjoy our friendships, make some more - and let’s knock this coal mine on the head for good.

Sustainable Futures will hold its third convention on 29/30/31 March 2019 and planning has already started based around the Australia Remade concepts.

Lastly, deep gratitude to outgoing committee members Steve Robinson and Graeme Healy, for approx 20 years fighting to keep the environmental integrity of the Gloucester valley and the Barrington Tops.

warm regards
Julie Lyford
President Groundswell Gloucester
Rocky Hill Coal Mine Merits Appeal - Where to from here
Update 31 August 2018

Dear Members and Supporters
The court case finished last Tuesday and understandably everyone wants to know what happens next.
Firstly thanks for your amazing support, patience and assistance with fundraising and donations.

You raised $45,000 to donate to the EDO NSW and we are finalizing the Chuffed fundraiser when we reach the goal so we can have a small amount of funds for issues/media/EDO when the decision is handed down by Chief Justice Preston. (Fundraiser link opposite)

We expect that a decision from the Court is unlikely to happen this year, and more likely will be delivered in February/March next year.

There are two possible outcomes from the appeal:

1.
That the Rocky Hill Mine is approved, with conditions
2.
That the Rocky Hill Mine is refused

In the first scenario (approval), GRL will be entitled to start its mine at any time from the date of the approval – however in reality they will have many things that they need to do before they can actually commence physical work (like preparing management plans, clearing the site of Aboriginal objects, etc). Groundswell Gloucester has 28 days to consider whether to lodge an appeal with the Court of Appeal on matters of law only. The mining lease cannot be refused if GRL gains a development consent.

In the second scenario (refusal), GRL’s DA will be rejected, and they will not be able to go ahead with the mine. GRL has 28 days to appeal on a point of law to the Court of Appeal. If they don’t notify you of an appeal in that time, then they have lost the right to appeal. In the event that the mine is rejected, and there is either no appeal,or the appeal is unsuccessful, the Government will not grant a mining lease. It is possible to cancel an exploration licence, but only in certain circumstances, which may not apply to GRL. If GRL would agree to surrender its exploration licence, then it could be cancelled by the Minister.

So now it’s time for a rest for the Groundswell team and everyone involved.
Thank you so much for all your efforts and to those who put objections to the court and presented. Apologies to those who did not get the opportunity to verbally present, however, rest assured that Chief Justice Preston will read every submission and all the previous evidence presented for the EIS and the PAC meeting.

We are looking forward to seeing you all at the Groundswell Gloucester AGM
6.30pm for 7pm Thursday September 27th, Gloucester Senior Citizens Centre BYO plate to share and drinks. Tea and coffee provided .

Warm regards from the GG Rocky Hill working Group team
Julie, Di, Sue, Ed, Jeff, Steve, Chris and John
Rocky Hill Coal Mine Merits Appeal - EDO NSW
Update 15 August 2018

Dear Members and Supporters
Please find below statement from the Environmental Defenders Office NSW.
Note the court will not be convening in Gloucester on Friday 17th August.
Please attend the court case at Gloucester Soldiers Club on
Thursday 16th August 2018, 12.45 pm (please arrive at 12.30 pm)
Groundswell Gloucester

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Environmental Defenders Office NSW - 14 August 2018

News from Land & Environment Court: Climate Change case begins
We’re at the point where we’ve only got a couple of years to start reducing greenhouse gases before we reach a tipping point ...
If the court agrees with our climate scientist that this mine should not be approved, and we shouldn’t be opening up new coal reserves, that will be a game-changer.

The time is now. Be part of the change - donate today.

You've no doubt seen news stories of climate litigation cases all over the world - from Ireland to Holland to the USA - the result of citizens using the law to stand up for our planet.

Our Solicitors and Science Director are in the Land & Environment Court for the first week of our landmark case representing embattled community group Groundswell Gloucester, which is standing up to protect the community from the potentially devastating impacts of a new coal mine next to their town.

I'm asking you today to consider making a donation to continue our groundbreaking work to protect people, places, animals and nature, and make our governments accountable for decisions that affect us, our kids, grandkids and great-grandkids.

This is a once in a generation case. It is the first hearing of its kind since the historic Paris Agreement, in which a superior jurisdiction Australian court will hear expert testimony about climate change, the carbon budget and the impacts of burning fossil fuels.

The stakes are high. Total greenhouse gas emissions over the life of the proposed mine are estimated at 38 million tonnes of CO2. The mining company tried to stop our client from being a party to these proceedings. They spent a full day trying to convince the court that the arguments about climate change were inappropriate ( "a side show and a distraction"). Following our arguments, the court disagreed with that proposition and now climate change will be a key part of the full hearing.

EDO NSW is the only organisation in the State that can both test and improve the laws that exist to protect our environment and the people, plants and animals that rely on it to sustain life.

By making a one-off gift today, or becoming a Friend of the EDO monthly giver, you will provide the core support our litigation, science, education and law reform experts need to defend brave communities like Gloucester, and develop and advocate for the legal framework necessary to meet the pressing challenges of climate change.

Think about the diversity of objectors to this mine - farmers, the young, the old, conservationists, doctors. Some are opposed because of noise impacts, others worry about how the mine might tear at the fabric of their community. Some worry about their children and grandchildren and about the kind of world they will live in if mine projects like this continue to be approved.

We know that this is the thin edge of the wedge. Gloucester is at the coal face of climate change and the people there need the EDO to support and defend them against powerful opponents with deep pockets. Your donation to our Environmental Defence Fund will provide communities throughout NSW with access to justice.

This case may go down as a seminal moment in the transition away from the mining of coal. Simply, we are arguing that a new coal mine should not be approved in NSW. This argument is based on science, economics and – we argue - the proper application of the law.

Environment groups across Australia are calling on politicians to adopt better, stronger laws that put environmental protection at their heart. With your help, EDO NSW will continue to provide them.

Use the law to combat climate change


CASE SUMMARY

Gloucester Resources Ltd and Stratford Pty Ltd
v Groundswell Gloucester and Dept of Planning & Environment


The Client: Groundswell Gloucester, a residents’ community group concerned with the environmental, social and economic future of the Stroud Gloucester Valley near Barrington Tops in the upper Hunter.

The Case: Represented by EDO NSW, Groundswell Gloucester was joined to proceedings that will determine the fate of the Rocky Hill Coal project, a greenfield open-cut coal mine less than 5km from Gloucester township.

Representation: Matt Floro, solicitor for EDO NSW, has carriage of this matter for Groundswell Gloucester and our Principal Solicitor, Elaine Johnson, is the solicitor on record. We are grateful to barrister Robert White for his assistance in this matter.

Experts: Emeritus Professor Will Steffen will for the first time give evidence in an Australian court that no new fossil fuel developments can be approved if we are to avoid overspending our carbon budget. Professor Steffen is a Climate Councillor on the Climate Council of Australia, Member of the ACT Government’s Climate Change Council, and was previously a Climate Commissioner on the Australian Government’s Climate Commission.

Energy analyst Tim Buckley will explain the financial mechanisms and market changes that are driving investments away from coal and creating a risk that Rocky Hill will become a stranded asset. Tim Buckley is Director of Energy Finance Studies, Australasia, Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

60 community objectors include farmers, doctors, Traditional Owners and young people. This is also the first time in an Australian court that young people will talk about the impact of climate change and the impact of the mine on their communities, and future generations.

Timeline:
2016 - Community celebrations after AGL withdraws its application to drill 330 coal seam gas extraction wells in the area.
December 2017 - celebrations continue when the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) refuses consent to the Rocky Hill Coal Project proposed by Gloucester Resources Limited (GRL). The PAC found that the mine was not in the public interest because of its proximity to the town of Gloucester, significant visual impact and direct contravention of the area’s zoning plans.
The PAC also refuses consent to a Modification of the consent for the nearby Stratford mine - operated by a related company of Yancoal Australia Limited - that proposed the receipt, processing and railing of coal from the Project. The PAC found that the Modification would have no critical purpose or utility outside the Project.
Planning Minister grants both mining companies the right to appeal the refusal of consent to the Land and Environment Court.
February 2018 - Our client, Groundswell Gloucester, seeks to be joined to the proceedings.
April 2018 - following a full-day hearing, the Land and Environment Court orders that Groundswell Gloucester be joined to the proceedings brought by GRL.
In relation to the climate change ground, on joining Groundswell Gloucester, the Court noted that:
“GRL submits that the raising of the climate issue as proposed in a domestic Court if the Intervener were joined would not serve the purpose of improving this particular planning decision; and, instead, would be a “side show and a distraction”. I do not agree.”
Our client has been permitted by the Court to present expert evidence on climate change and the social impacts of this new mine. The Court will hear anthropological evidence about the social impact of mining on the community.
This is the first time an Australian court will hear expert evidence about the urgent need to stay within the global carbon budget in the context of a proposed new coal mine.

Key dates:

13-14 August 2018
Opening submissions at the Land and Environment Court, Macquarie Street, Sydney
15 August 2018
Site visit (parties only) Gloucester
16-17 August 2018
Hearings in Gloucester (community objectors)
20-24 & 27-31 August 2018
Submissions and expert witnesses at the Land and Environment Court, Macquarie Street, Sydney

Donate to the Environmental Defence Fund: www.edonsw.org.au/donate
I am so grateful for your financial support in previous years. Our donors make all the difference to our ability to offer our essential services at a time when the world needs us most.

Yours sincerely,
David Morris
CEO - Solicitor


P.S. Thank you for helping us get this far. I depend on your help to support my team of lawyers and experts to continue defending communities at the coal face - and finding legal solutions to the most pressing challenges we face today - in the way EDO does best.
A gift from you today will provide the core support our litigation, science, education and law reform experts need to defend brave communities like Gloucester, and develop and advocate for the legal framework necessary to meet the challenge of climate change.

For coverage of the landmark Gloucester case, visit our website www.edonsw.org.au or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/edonsw
ROCKY HILL COAL MINE MERITS APPEAL - IMPORTANT UPDATE
Update 13 August 2018

Dear Members and Supporters

Please note this recent change in court proceedings.

The court will not be convening in Gloucester on Friday 17th August.
We need all your support at the court case at Gloucester Soldiers Club on
Thursday 16th August 2018, 12.45 – 4.00 pm
please be early, arrive at 12.30 pm.


Important information for supporters
Please remember this is a court so people are expected to act accordingly.
Attendees will not be allowed to enter the court with any form of protest. This includes protest T-shirts etc.
People can protest outside but no protest will be tolerated inside.

Groundswell Gloucester
If approved the Rocky Hill Coal Mine will extend mining in the valley for decades.

Schools and hundreds of homes are within the 5km health danger zone of the project’s first stage. Future expansion could be as close as 1km from the built up area of Gloucester.

The source of health and environmental problems will be closer to people and the risks will last longer than the Stratford mine.

In a world of oversupply and industry decline due to energy competition why should another coal mine be imposed on the rural community of Gloucester?

Sustainable Futures Convention - 30-31 March 2019 - CLICK HERE

Tucker Patch Farm Gate - Fresh Produce - every Friday - CLICK HERE

Gloucester Farmers Market - second Saturday of the month - CLICK HERE
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DONATE THROUGH BANK ACCOUNT:

Following the recent update about the Rocky Hill Court Case,
many have requested bank details in order to make a donation.
These offers are very much appreciated.


Account Name: Groundswell Gloucester Inc
BSB: 721000
Account Number: 100166385
Reference: Name and "donation".

Thank You!
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SHOW YOUR SUPPORT
"I support the Gloucester community in their battle to decide their own economic future and to protect the homes, land and water of the Gloucester Valley from the destructive impacts of the coal and coal seam gas industries. Keep me informed and let me know how I can help. "







Become a Member
CLICK HERE to download the Application Form

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DONATE
Donations to Groundswell Gloucester can be made by direct deposit. BSB  721 000 • Account 100 166 385
Please identify with your name and the word "donation" Thank you!

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