Wingecarribee Swamp Peat Mining

Unprecedented Conservation Order Stops Mining

25 March 1998

The National Parks Association today commended the NSW Premier Bob Carr, Planning Minister Craig Knowles and the NSW Heritage Council on the Interim Conservation Order for an immediate stop to peat mining in the highly sensitive wetlands known as Wingecarribee Swamp.

Noel Plumb, NPA Executive Officer said "This order stops the destructive mining in its tracks and gives us hope that NSW can still save such endangered species as the 190 million year old Giant Dragonfly which inhabits the Swamp."

"The order also removes the pollution threat from the mining hanging over the adjoining Wingecarribee Reservoir which supplies 30,000 people in the Southern Highlands with clean drinking water and is part of the back up water supply system for Sydney."

"This is a great step which moves the government out of the morass created by the peat mining. It is now possible to resolve the conflict between the unremitting pressure from the mining industry to renew the leases and the extraordinary level of both conservation and State Government agencies’(such as the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Sydney Water and the Environment Protection Authority) opposition to the continuation of the mining."

"The order is unprecedented as it challenges an existing mining operation, albeit one operating with disputed planning approval and on holdover from mining leases which expired more than five years ago."

"We hope that the miner will take immediate action to comply with the order and we will be closely monitoring the site."

"The final step needed is the formal creation of a nature reserve over the Swamp and we look forward to this by the end of this year after the Government completes the formalities under the Heritage Act to permanently protect the site."

"Congratulations to the Premier and the Government on some real action to protect endangered species, wetlands, biodiversity and water quality by issuing this interim order."

For further comment: Noel Plumb 02 9233 4660 or 018 975 075

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