Aboriginal group in Land and Environment Court over Calga sand mine


Terry Collins, Central Coast Gosford Express Advocate, The Daily Telegraph – http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/central-coast/aboriginal-grou...

Date of publication: 
6 April 2014

ABORIGINAL groups will tell the NSW Land and Environment Court that a multi-million dollar sand mine expansion at Calga will destroy significant Indigenous sites.

The proposed sand mine expansion at Calga will come before the Land and Environment Court of April 15.

The court will hear an appeal against the expansion from the Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council.

Despite Darkinjung’s formal objection to the project, the Planning Department’s planning committee approved it earlier this year.

Representing Darkinjung, Jason Behrendt appeared on March 20 to file and serve Darkinjung’s statement of facts and contentions against the Calga project.

Darkinjung chief executive officer Sean Gordon said the council had been actively engaged in opposing the project for eight years.

“Throughout this time, we have been conducting numerous surveys, night recordings, preparing Aboriginal Heritage Impact Assessments and identifying new Aboriginal sites within the proposed extension area,” Mr Gordon said.

“Our site assessments have revealed that the subject land and its surroundings contain culturally significant objects and places for Aboriginal people, with one of the sites being of immense significance to Aboriginal women.”

With the help of other local Aboriginal Land Councils, Darkinjung is attempting to challenge the NSW planning laws in relation to Aboriginal cultural heritage.

“We will continue to fight to protect the indigenous culture and heritage in this area and advocate for this development to be stopped,” Mr Gordon said.

Other Opponents

The land council is not alone in opposing the proposed expansion at the Rocla site.

Residents have grace concerns regarding possible impacts on the water table and the nearby Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park faces job redundancies and possible closure if the project goes ahead.