The incredible shrinking COAL industry!!

Admin | SHCAG - Saturday, October 18, 2014 here

Major CSG leaks at AGL gas field in Camden.

Admin | SHCAG - Saturday, October 18, 2014 here

A good article on the Australian Institute.

Admin | SHCAG - Saturday, October 18, 2014 here

URGENT - We Need Your Help!

Events SHCAG - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

As many of you will know the Hume Coal Project was recently given approval to drill a further 25 exploration boreholes over a 2 year period in Sutton Forest!

We’ve received feedback that ‘apparently’ our community doesn’t really object to what Hume Coal is doing as the minister’s office didn’t receive any written objections! We need to rectify this now by bombarding the Minister with letters objecting to any new drilling!

This community has been under siege for over 4 long years.  This has had a huge impact on the affected landowners, not just financially, but also physically & emotionally.  Landowners have been forced into court and also land access arbitration against their will.

It’s costing these people many tens of thousands of dollars to fight the miners with no end in sight. Hume Coal has also denied landowners the right to have legal representation when in arbitration. They are bullies and will try anything. 

Hume Coal has now bought “Evandale” which is located right next to the Medway Reservoir, the emergency water supply for the entire Southern Highlands and the drinking water for 8,200 residents in Berrima plus parts of Bowral and Mittagong. Any mining could seriously threaten this water resource. 

Industry water experts recently completed a Groundwater Study that clearly showed that any mining will drain the water in an area of 200 square kilometres or more of the Southern Highlands affecting people way outside the coal licence area. 

Should this region lose its water, there will be a long lasting, and possibly permanent, damaging impact on all of the agricultural & farming operations in the area.  This will impact not only the farmers, but also all the businesses that support them, and the huge hospitality industry on which many rely for their livelihoods. 

Property values in the mining lease area have dropped significantly and sales have plummeted.  This won’t change until the black mining cloud is lifted. 

SO, it’s time to step up to the plate and put pen to paper people!  We need you to voice your concerns, clearly and loudly, to the ministerial office. 

It’s not often that we ask you to take action, but we do need urgent action right now, which is:

- Write a letter outlining your concerns (in your own words would be best) and send it to the Minister for Resources & Energy.  Feel free to cc SHCAG on this letter (PO Box 3380, Exeter NSW 2579 or 

- If you can spare 5 minutes, a phone call to the Minister's office wouldn't go astray. 

- Keep an eye on our website, Facebook & Twitter to make sure you don't miss out on any recent developments, and you can keep in touch with any requests for action. 

- If you can spare it, donations to help fund the fight are always welcome. 

And to save you the trouble, below are the email, postal and telephone details for the ministerial office. 

The Hon. Anthony Roberts MP

Minister for Resources & Energy

GPO Box 5341, Sydney NSW 2001

Tel: 02 8574 5600


We thank you in advance for answering this call to arms! 


Southern Highlands Coal Action Group

September 2014 Important Presentations & Dates

Events SHCAG - Friday, September 12, 2014
Undermining Australia

Saturday 20 September 2014, 2 – 4.30 pm, Robertson CTC

Musical performance by Paul Robert Burton and premiere of the new Lock the Gate Alliance short documentary “Undermining Australia”. An important community event not to be missed!

Date: Saturday 20th September

Time: 2pm to 4.30pm

Venue: Robertson CTC, Hoddle St Robertson

This groundbreaking documentary gives the first clear, compelling, factual overview about the impacts of coal mining on Australian communities, particularly rural and regional communities, farmers and our natural environment. It features the stories of people whose lives have been changed forever by mining on their land and highlights the groundswell of grassroots community action to stop the mining industry from ruining lives and communities across Australia. The film will be shown within a concert and community sharing setting with professional musician/activist Paul Robert Burton. There will also be guest speakers and a presentation of Dr Phillip Pell's Water Study commissioned by the Southern Highlands Coal Action Group. This is a great opportunity for networking and positive community strategies on “where to from here”.

Entry: Free Entry, children welcome, (donations accepted)

Afternoon tea including tea and coffee provided from the CTC Cafe

Bookings: Please order and print your free ticket through Eventbrite

More Information: call Larry Whipper 0407 932 922

Proudly supported by:

Southern Highlands Water Sustainability

Dr Ann Young, Environmental Scientist

Thursday 25 September, 6.00 pm, Mittagong RSL


There is direct conflict between the sustainability of the agricultural resources of the Southern Highlands, specifically its surface and near-surface groundwater resources, and the development of the coal resources underlying the area. The conflict echoes similar confrontations in other regions, notably the Liverpool Plains and the Woronora and Upper Nepean catchment areas of Sydney's water supply. Of critical importance are three questions - how much mining-related risk to water resources is acceptable to the community, how can the impacts of mining be predicted accurately and how can mining activity be adapted to respond to any impacts that exceed predicted limits.

The presentation will track through the models used in the region to describe water-related mining impacts, and scan the relationship between community expectations and regulatory conditions.

Dr Ann Young lectured at the University of Wollongong's School of Earth and Environmental Sciences. She is the author of several academic books - Environmental change in Australia since 1788, Soils in the Australian landscape and Sandstone landforms, as well as popular books - Understanding the scenery of Royal and Morton national parks. Since her retirement in 2002, she has renewed her interest in upland swamps (her PhD topic) and been involved in environmental assessment of impacts of longwall coal extraction, especially in the catchment areas, via membership of Community Consultative Committees and submissions to government inquiries.

For further details and to make a booking for this event please click here.

Spring Sunday in the Gardens of Sutton Forest

A rare opportunity to visit three private gardens:

Historic Hillview – garden & house inspection

Romantic Rotherwood – rural estate garden

Brigalow – magnificent native bush garden

All closely situated on the Illawarra Highway, Sutton Forest (look for the flags).

Then join us for fun at Hillview – Devonshire Teas, Sausage Sizzle & more, stalls, Spinning & Weaving demonstrations, Morris Dancers, musical entertainment PLUS a magician for the children.

Adults Entry - $15, includes all gardens

Childrens Entry – Free

In support of the Carters Lane Blockade Fund & supported by the Southern Highlands Coal Action Group


Undermining Wingecarribee Event 20/09/14

Events SHCAG - Wednesday, September 03, 2014

If you are local, or will be in the area on Saturday 20/09/14 you might be interested in attending this event:


An infomation presentation of Phillip Pells Water study (commissioned by the Southern Highlands Coal Action Group). This will be accompanied by a screening of Fractured Country. Undermining Wingecarribee will be an interactive event, it will provide opportunity for networking and ideas. Those present will also be entertained by the talented Musician Paul Robert Burton. This is a free event, donations will be welcome however. There will also be coffee and tea available for purchase. 

If you would like to attend this event you DO need to book tickets - you can do that by clicking hereNumbers are limited so you should probably book your ticket sooner rather than later! 

CSG Leak in Sydney's Suburbs

Events SHCAG - Tuesday, September 02, 2014

From our friends at Our Land Our Water Our Future ...

"On Sunday night in Sydney’s south west one of AGL’s coal seam gas wells started hissing loudly and leaking gas straight into the air, just a few hundred metres from family homes.

Spring Farm residents called the fire brigade who established an exclusion zone before working for hours to shut it off. 

Last night AGL told media it wasn’t aware of any trouble, but today the gas company is saying they acted immediately and there is nothing to worry about.  Now the Environment Protection Authority are investigating.

The NSW Government is yet to acknowledge the coal seam gas leak.  Resources Minister Anthony Roberts says his rules for coal seam gas protect our communities.  But the rules for residential exclusion zones don’t apply to south west Sydney or Gloucester.  Locals are expected to live with gasfields next door to their homes. 

Will you call Resources Minister Anthony Roberts (02 9228 5289) and ask him why residents in south west Sydney and Gloucester are not protected from Coal Seam Gas?

You can also email the Minister using this simple form our friends at Lock the Gate have set up: email Minister Roberts today

This coal seam gas leak is not the first time AGL has had something go wrong at its Camden Gas Project in south west Sydney. Over and over, AGL has been fined for breaching its licence for air pollution, monitoring failures, and even a well blow out that saw an uncontrolled foam released into the air near homes and a local waterway. 

Let's tell Minister Roberts no-one should have to live in a gasfield: call on (02) 9228 5289 or click here to email.

Here are a few things you can ask the Minister to do to ensure our communities and environment are safe from coal seam gas:

- Suspend AGL's approval to frack in Gloucester, and review all CSG approvals there.

- Decommission existing gas wells within 2km of homes at AGL's Camden gasfield.

- Investigate and prosecute all pollution incidents at AGL's Camden gasfield.

Give Minister Robert's office a call on (02) 9228 5289 or click here to email

You can ask your friends to take action by forwarding this or sharing on Facebook or Twitter."



From the Coalface - Edition 01 (25/08/14)

Events SHCAG - Monday, August 25, 2014


Welcome to the first edition of the monthly newsletter of SHCAG's volunteers.    

We hope that through this newsletter we will be better able to keep you up to date with the activities of your committee and the many devoted volunteers who are at the coalface, so to speak, on a day to day basis.

Hopefully you have all read Peter Martin’s July newsletter which has given you an update on our activities so far (please see our website if you have not). I ask you to send this, and also Peter’s newsletter, on to all your contacts as this is a great way to spread the word about our successes so far and our immediate plans for the ongoing fight.

Each month we will profile a volunteer so you can understand what motivates their activities.  We will also be highlighting some supportive businesses as these are the businesses we in turn need to support so they can grow their sustainable businesses, and help grow our community without destroying our precious environment.  As like-minded people it is uplifting for us all to support one another and build the community we want.


Volunteer Activity Update

Last Friday about 30 of us had a small peaceful 45 minute protest outside Hume’s office with signs and singing. We wanted the Moss Vale community and Hume Coal to know that we are not going away and will fight to the end.  Many supportive toots were forthcoming from the passersby, and all in all we had a great time. There certainly is a good feeling when you participate in something like this. We plan to do this monthly so if you would like to join us please contact me ( for details. 


This Month’s Volunteer Profile   

Ann Mawson - A founding volunteer whom I met on Exeter Railway station of all places. (Yes, I never stop harassing people about coalmining …)  Ann lives in Exeter and plays in the Southern Highlands Community Band.  Ann always puts her hand up and writes the absolutely best letters to the local paper and loves a good protest in front of Hume Coal’s office in Moss Vale. Here is an example of Ann’s special talent as she sums up her feelings with her rewriting of Blowing in the Wind.

“How much destruction, will it take ‘til we know,

That mining will destroy our land and water

Til’ we make, the people understand.

How many crooked politicians must we find,

Before blatant bribery is banned,

Yes and, How long can trees, birds and animals survive?

When miners drain the water, from the ground,

And where will the people go, who no longer have a home If we bury our heads in the sand”.

The answer my friend is blowin’ in the  wind,

The answer is blowin’ in the wind” (Bob Dylan)

Be aware that coal mines produce coal dust pollution that also blows in the wind.

A Mawson, Exeter.  

Please contact me if you would like to join our volunteers group. All hands welcome (   


This Months Business Highlights

Exeter General Store

Craig and Lauren have totally revamped the General store since they took over and it is now the hub of social life in the area - our local Café, Post Office and featuring pre-loved books and gifts and food items, many of which are sourced locally.  Craig and Lauren’s view is that to ensure the long term future of our regional economy and social outcomes, we need to focus on our sustainable natural competitive advantages, particularly our beautiful and productive environment, coupled with our proximity to Sydney. We need to bolster our offering as a food & wine destination, and continue the development of high value agriculture.

Cafe Pirouette Robertson

79-81 Hoddle St, Robertson, Tel 4885 1930   Carole, Mark and their crew always provide friendly service, great coffee and my favourite, bacon and egg on Turkish. Carole feels very strongly that the environmental integrity of the Highlands must be protected at all costs, not only for the present but to protect future generations.  “Some things are too precious to lose“ says Carole. 


Other News

An Important Project - Living Under a Coal Cloud

A Photographic Essay Project by ANU’s Greg Sorenson and Yasmin Idriss. The Project will cast light on the ongoing SHCAG campaign against the proposed Hume Coal mine in Sutton Forest and Exeter. Greg and Yasmin will be photographing and interviewing landowners who may be affected adversely by the mine.  The project will broaden the awareness of the outside of the region to create additional support for the campaign by the work being shown at the prestigious ANU School of Art Show. 

If you are interested in participating please contact Sam Bailey by email –  



Please be aware that our last Thursday of the Month ACAC (Anti Coal Activity Catchup) meeting will be held this Thursday 28th August at the Sutton Forest Pub at 6.30 pm Meetings are held on the last Thursday of each month, (the dates are also on the website). Catch up on the latest news, ask questions, share ideas, have fun and meet like minded people - bring along friends!  ALL are welcome!  


Open Gardens - 28th September 2014

An Open Gardens day will be held on Sunday 28th September 2014 in support of the Carters Lane Blockade - a fundraiser supported by the SHCAG.  Please refer to the website for further details as they become available.   


Committee Update

Please refer to Peter Martin's July newsletter for a full update on the work the committee has been doing.   

Further updates in our next newsletter …  


Resources for Information

The Australian Institute

The Conversation

Both available free of charge if you subscribe on their websites  


I hope that you will find our newsletter of interest and please feel free to contact me if you have suggestions or comments  

Virginia Ellsmore  

Four Corners battle for the reef.

Admin | SHCAG - Tuesday, August 19, 2014 here

Old Soldiers (Protesters) Never Die ...

Events SHCAG - Thursday, August 14, 2014


SHCAG's volunteers are alive and well as this protest, last Friday - in front of Hume Coal's office in Moss Vale - demonstrates. 

A belated and heartfelt thank you to all those who participated, and thank you too to all the drivers who showed support as they drove by!