Mining is one of the most important industries in Lake Macquarie, on several levels.
I support underground mining in areas where potential conflicts with other land uses are properly considered and balanced.
However, I do not support above-ground mining in Lake Macquarie as it is harmful towards the environment and has tremendous impacts on local communities.
In 2007 after announcing my candidature for the State seat, plans for the Awaba open cut mine and the Olstan auger mine were obliterated, thereby protecting those nearby communities from the significant health and environmental impacts which those mines would have created.
More recently we have the issue of the Wallarah 2 longwall mine west of Wyong. I have consistently opposed this mine because of the risks it poses to the integrity of the water catchment, along with other issues which will negatively impact on the local community.
While I do understand that society will continue to rely on fossil fuels for some time yet, at least in part, I do believe that the State and Federal governments should be doing far more to promote and research the development of renewable energy alternatives.
I do not support the idea that the government should respond to the downturn of the mining industry by removing existing community safeguards. The high level of regulation which governs mining proposals in NSW is necessary to ensure that due diligence is paid to the health and wellbeing of communities, the potential conflict with other industries, and the need to protect the environment.
I also oppose the exploration and mining of coal seam gas in agriculturally sensitive areas because of the potential threat posed by the fracking process to underground water supplies.