Media release: Doctors call for no more coalmines after Court rejects Rocky Hill on climate change grounds

Doctors call for an end to further extensions of existing coalmines or new mines, such as the Galilee Basin, after a landmark ruling in the NSW Land and Environment Court firmly rejected the Rocky Hill open cut coalmine proposal. 

Medical group Doctors for the Environment Australia applauds the Court’s ruling and says the decision confirms that there is no longer any social licence for further fossil fuel developments

Dr John Van Der Kallen, Chair of NSW Doctors for the Environment Australia, says, “This is an unbelievably important decision - it is a massive win for the health of the people of Gloucester but also for the health of us all. 

 “It has now been recognised by the Court that climate change is real and impacts on human health, and this decision will set a precedent that will likely have far-reaching implications for all Australians and the rest of the world. 

"Any more fossil fuel developments will increase greenhouse gas emissions and worsen climate change, whose health impacts we can see every day.  Hopefully, as a result of this ruling, we can now get on and make massive cuts to our greenhouse gas emissions.”

The proposed mine was planned on the outskirts of Gloucester. The court dismissed an appeal by Gloucester Resources, which was seeking to overturn a NSW Government decision to reject the mine.

The Court’s reasons for the ruling were because the proposed mine, “will cause significant planning, amenity, visual and social impacts” but also “because the GHG emissions of the coal mine and its coal product will increase global total concentrations of GHGs at a time when what is now urgently needed, in order to meet generally agreed climate targets, is a rapid and deep decrease in GHG emissions. These dire consequences should be avoided.”

The impacts on Aboriginal Heritage were also identified as a significant issue in the Court’s rejection of the mine.

The Court summarised the findings by saying, “In short, an open cut coal mine in this part of the Gloucester valley would be in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

Says Dr Van Der Kallen, “The effort that has been required by the Gloucester community as well as the NSW Environmental Defenders Office is extraordinary. It should not be left to these communities to have to defend us all against the effects of climate change.  

“The community has now stopped a coal seam gas development and an open cut coalmine development. We can all learn from their efforts.”

Media contact

Dr John Van Der Kallen, Chair of NSW DEA

For interviews, please call Communications and Media Coordinator Carmela Ferraro on 0410 703 074 


About DEA

DEA is an independent organisation of medical doctors protecting health through care of the environment

We are supported by a Scientific Advisory Committee of distinguished health experts: Prof Stephen Boyden AM, Prof Emeritus Chris Burrell AO, Prof Colin Butler, Prof Peter Doherty AC, Prof Michael Kidd AM, Prof David de Kretser AC, Prof Stephen Leeder AO, Prof Ian Lowe AO, Prof Robyn McDermott, Prof Lidia Morawska, Prof Peter Newman AO, Prof Emeritus Sir Gustav Nossal AC, Prof Hugh Possingham, Prof Lawrie Powell AC, Prof Fiona Stanley AC, Dr Rosemary Stanton OAM, Dr Norman Swan


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