OUR FIGHT for BULGA
Warkworth Mining Limited issued an Environmental Assessment in 2010 advising that they had made application to the Government to extend the Warkworth Mine to within 2.6 kilometres of Bulga. All members of the Bulga community were invited to a meeting at the Community Hall to discuss the issue. Approximately eighty people attended and voted unanimously to reject the proposal and fight the expansion. The community was aware of the other villages nearby that had been devastated because of open cut mine expansions and had no desire to allow Bulga to suffer the same fate.
A sub-committee of the BMPA was formed at that meeting and commenced the battle to save Bulga. In February 2012, the Government’s Planning Assessment Commission, despite many objections to the expansion, gave approval for the mine to expand. This approval was appealed by the BMPA in the Land & Environment Court of NSW in March 2010 resulting in the Chief Judge handing down the Court’s decision on the 15 April 2013 in favour of the BMPA. This successful action required the Company to return to the 2003 boundaries.
The decision by the Land & Environment Court attracted a great deal of media attention and was widely reported throughout Australia and as far afield as America, England, Canada and Finland. The success of the people of Bulga against the State Government and one of the largest mining companies in the world had a major impact on the mining industry.
Warkworth Mining Limited and the NSW State Government have appealed the Land & Environment Court decision in the NSW Supreme Court of NSW, Court of Appeal. The appeal hearing was conducted in the Supreme Court over four days in August/September 2013. The outcome of the Court’s deliberations is expected later in 2013.
In recognition of the determined efforts of the Bulga residents in fighting the expansion of the Warkworth Mine, the Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association was awarded the Tidy Towns Sustainable Communities Award 2013 ‘Bush Spirit Award’.