Meeting at power station is not likely to be good news

The huge ash dam at Vales Point Power Station at Mannering Park

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The northern Central Coast and lower Lake Macquarie regions have a lot to be concerned about when Sunset Power International Limited (trading as Delta Electricity) recently invited their old political buddies, being disgraced politicians Barnaby Joyce MP and now backbencher Matt Canavan MP, to recently visit the Vales Point Power Station.

Both politicians are reported to have many dirty fingers in the mining pie, as seen in the Greenpeace documentary “Dirty Power”, plus having an assortment of influential and effective lobbyists, thus having the Coalition substantially fund the Minerals Council of Australia.

Other politicians having major influence with the coal industry are the right wing pro coal group of Tony Abbott (former Prime Minister), Barnaby Joyce (former Deputy Prime Minister), Eric Abetz (Trade Legislation Committee), Kevin Andrews (former Minister for Employment) and Craig Kelly (self-described “climate change sceptic” and outspoken on energy issues).

Whatever the reason for their visit to Vales Point Power Station, you can be sure that it is not in the interest of the community, in fact, there are rumours of plans underway to mine under the Lake Munmorah Conservation Area, as it is not a National Park and therefore they can mine within one metre from the surface.

I believe this to be part of the Central Coast Regional Plan 2036 where it explicitly announces $180M per annum of mineral extractions amongst the proposed 40,500 new homes in the northern Central Coast alone.

Trevor St Baker, one of the owners of Sunset Power International Limited, purchased Vales Point Power Station and all its land, including the ash dams, for $1M only a few years ago with a contract that defies belief.

It is now valued at $730M, and he is only responsible for the coal ash by-product produced since signing the agreement with the NSW Liberal Coalition, having no responsibility for the previous 30-40 million tonnes already deposited.

Having the staggering amount of coal ash currently being stored between Vales Point and Eraring ash dams, now approaching 100 million tonnes, with no answer in sight of increased re-use or remediation, we can only assume that the surrounding regions will have further nightmares, as gas fields are being contemplated both on land and off our coastline.

Email, Nov 27
Gary Blaschke OAM, Lake Munmorah