Dungog Council Rejects Extending the Stay on the Court Orders

The following update was received from the Martins Creek Quarry Action Group (MCQAG) last night. Great news!

Dear Members & Friends

Further to our message from earlier this week.

In a show of support towards impacted residents Dungog Shire Council this evening unanimously voted against entering into an agreement with Daracon to extend the stay on orders made against Daracon’s unlawful operations by the NSW Court of Appeal.

It is now open for Daracon to make this same request to the Land & Environment Court before a Judge, prior to the 20th of September. 

Thank you to all the residents who attended the Council meeting this evening.

James Ashton

The “stay” has allowed Daracon to continue operating illegally, by extracting rock other than primarily for railway ballast, quarrying beyond the area to which the consent applied, dispatching a greater percentage of material by road than was allowable and impermissibly processing rock on the western land.

Yesterday, we had sent an email to the Dungog council urging them to reject any extension of the stay of the court orders. (Note: IEMP = Interim Environmental management Plan, which applies during the “stay”, setting interim tonnage, operating hours and truck frequency limits).

I write to council to urge you to reject any request from Daracon to extend the stay of the court orders. Any extension would allow the quarry to continue operating under the IEMP which was intended as a transition to compliance with the 1991 consent conditions.

While your councillors will all have some degree of sympathy for either the residents or the quarry, this is not a matter for sympathy. It is council’s duty as the current consent authority for the quarry, to carry through the actions already undertaken through the courts, and require Daracon to comply with the courts validated consent conditions. There must be no further extensions of the stay on the court orders. That is the law, and that is your duty.

Council must not assume that the SSDA being pursued by Daracon will ever be finalised and approved, and if so under what conditions, and whether Daracon would be prepared to proceed with reopening the quarry under those conditions.  The IEMP conditions may therefore grossly exceed any future conditions.

Council does not have the legal or moral right to allow the increases implicit in the IEMP over the 1991 consent to continue. Only a new EIS with full  scrutiny by all agencies, the DPE and the IPC can assess if and under what conditions would a quarry operations be allowed continue.

As a resident on a Martins Creek Quarry haul route, and a weekly visitor and shopper in Paterson, I urge council to disallow any extensions to the stay on the court orders.

Yours sincerely
Neil and Margarete Ritchie

It is great news that the council has voted to reject any further extension to the stay on the court orders. We must now wait to see if Daracon complies by the 20th September deadline, or continues to use the courts for further delays.

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