TWO new public hearing dates for the Vickery coal mine extension have been announced for February next year, after the schedule hearing in Gunnedah was cancelled at the last minute due to overwhelming public interest.
Boggabri will now get a hearing, along with Gunnedah, to cater for the 83 registered speakers set to go before the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) panel, which is considering the Whitehaven Coal proposal.
A “last-minute surge” in registrations meant the original hearing was expected to go for 14 hours. The IPC has reopened speaker applications.
Narrabri Shire Council mayor Catherine Redding claimed the commission’s decision to hold the second meeting in Boggabri was the result of persistent lobbying by the council.
“Council stands with the Boggabri community,” Cr Redding said.
“At our meeting with the commission, we put forward a compelling case for a public hearing in Boggabri, and I commend the three members of the panel for the way in which they listened and understood the concerns of the community.
“The community must have confidence in the assessment process for Vickery and the commission has taken the first step to achieving that today.”
A spokesperson for the IPC said delaying the hearing until February would give people more time to look over the proposal and prepare their presentation to the panel.
The Vickery public hearings will take place at Boggabri RSL Memorial Club on Monday, February 4, and at Gunnedah Town Hall on Tuesday, February 5, with both starting at 9am.