Department of Industry pushes for closure of Wallaby Scrub Road

Local residents protesting about the possible road closure in July 2016 prior to Police arresting two Aboriginal Elders.
Local residents protesting about the possible road closure in July 2016 prior to Police arresting two Aboriginal Elders.

Singleton Council is being given plenty of free advice about what it should do with its historical, convict built, local road.

On six prior occasions Councillor’s has voted against closing Wallaby Scrub Road but this time around it appears the screws are being turned. 

On the same day representatives from Coal&Allied made a presentation to Singleton Council about the urgent need to close Wallaby Scrub Road, the Department of Industry sent an email on the subject to the general-manager, Jason Linnane.

The secretary of Department of Planning and Environment, Carolyn McNally, was copied in on the email and the letter was signed by the acting deputy secretary of the Division of Resources&Energy, Chris Yeats.

Dated December 19, 2016, it is clearly an attempt to put pressure on local decision makers.

It states: “Further delays by the Council in resolving the Wallaby Scrub Road closure could potentially start to impact on the mine operation plan and the employment of the current workforce.”

Subsequently on January, 6, 2017 the company submitted another request to close the historic road.

The correspondence has been included in a council report compiled in preparation for Monday night’s meeting where Councillor’s will vote for the seventh time on this issue.

The report openly queries why the letter was sent and recommends the road should be closed.

“The purpose of this letter is unclear but essentially reminds Council that consent has been granted...”, the reports states.

Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association (BMPA) president, John Krey, says the residents of Bulga and Milbrodale will be looking to Councillors to withstand the pressure and threats and standby their previous stated position and vote no to the closure of Wallaby Scrub Road.

“The report prepared by the Council officers again recommends closing the road and yet does not offer anything new for Councillors to consider,” he says.

“Last time this matter was discussed the Councillors voted unanimously not to close the road.  Given that there is nothing new in the current reports it will be interesting to see which way Council votes again,” he says.

“There is certainly plenty of threats and the normal bullying  from both government and the mining company in the letters and reports and in particular from the Dept of Industry.  The bias evident in the Department's letter and the use of surveys etc all provided by mining interests must be investigated. and the authors held to account.”

Legal advice contained in the Council report, including a letter from the NSW crown solicitors office, clearly states the road closure is the local authorities responsibility.

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