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Margaret River ‘should be protected’ says minister as coal application dismissed

Plans to develop coal mining in Australia’s Margaret River wine region have been rejected – but campaigners fear their fight is not yet over.

Bill Marmion, Environment Minister for Western Australia, dismissed an application from LD Operations, acting on behalf of partners Vasse Coal and South West Coal, for the black coal operation.

The announcement follows more than a year of campaigning from local groups, who feared the Vasse Coal project at a site 15km from Margaret River might threaten local water resources.

In rejecting the application, Marmion said the project was likely to pose ‘significant impacts or risks’ to two aquifers, adding: ‘Margaret River is a unique region with important environmental values which should be protected. From an environmental perspective, this project is too risky.’

The decision has been welcomed by the Margaret River Wine Industry Association and other local groups, who have called on the State Government not to override it – and to enact new legislation to protect the area from similar future proposals.

Campaigners say state premier Colin Barnett should honour a pledge to legislate to protect the local area, complaining that the community should not be forced to mount similar campaigns against every future mining proposal.

Written by Richard Woodard

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