Tuesday, 10 May 2011
Newcastle Greens today called on Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS) to correct a highly misleading statement in the company’s material supporting the proposed expansion of its Newcastle coal export facilities (T4).
PWCS information on the internet, and printed material being distributed by the company about its proposed T4 expansion, claims that the company has a “legal requirement to ensure sufficient terminal capacity to meet the long term needs of the region’s coal producers”. [see, for example, http://www.pwcs.com.au/pages/projects/t4.php and PWCS’s “T4: Growing with our region” information sheet, Issue No.1, May 2011”, currently being distributed to the community]
“The prominent reference in this material to a ‘legal requirement’ for the T4 terminal is highly misleading, and PWCS should immediately correct this language and remedy any misperception that it might have already created,’ Greens spokesperson John Sutton said today.
“This so-called ‘legal requirement’ appears to be simply a set of prospective commitments that PWCS has entered into with the other coal export companies about how to divvy up coal export capacity through the Port of Newcastle.
“In response to questions about this ostensible ‘legal requirement’ at a recent community briefing, a PWCS representative conceded that there was no statutory requirement to expand their coal services, and that the company would not be in breach of any of their contractual commitments if the T4 expansion was not approved.
“The term ‘legal requirement’ creates the highly misleading impression that rejection of the T4 expansion would be unlawful, or that it would expose PWCS to legal action, when this is not the case,” Mr Sutton said.
“If people in the community think that the T4 expansion is a ‘legal requirement’, they will be inclined to conclude that its planning approval is simply a necessary, foregone conclusion, and that there is no point in them lodging a submission or communicating what they really think about it.
“At the same time, the PWCS publicity material is scant on specific information about the extent to which the T4 expansion would increase Newcastle’s annual coal export capacity (which has been variously stated elsewhere as between 50million and 130million tonnes), or about the climate change impact associated with such coal exports, which is not even mentioned in the nine ‘potential impacts’ of the development listed on the company’s T4 expansion fact sheet [see: http://www.pwcs.com.au/pages/design/links/uploaded/PWC0036T4Factsheet1_FA.pdf].
“Given what’s at stake with this proposal, we call on PWCS to make a commitment to providing accurate and relevant information that addresses the key issues involved in its proposed T4 expansion,” Mr Sutton said.
For further information or comment, please contact John Sutton (Spokesperson, Newcastle Greens), on 4969 2668 or 0411 154 004.