Schools hold their breath on decision

Jack Galvin Waight
Country Organiser

School communities in the Hunter await the Planning Assessment Commission’s determination on an application for a forth coal terminal on Kooragang Island, Newcastle.

During the coal terminal project application process Federation has voiced concerns about the health impacts of coal dust on school communities in and around the coal train corridor to the coal port.

There are about 23,000 children and around 1000 teachers attending schools within 500 metres of the coal train corridor in the Hunter region, and there are at least nine schools within a kilometre of the proposed coal stockpiles next to Newcastle Harbor.

An extra coal terminal would enable more coal to be exported, requiring more coal to be carried along the coal train corridor, further impacting on Hunter schools and communities.

Federation’s opposition to the coal terminal was expressed at a Planning Assessment Commission hearing in August 2014 and again at a hearing in July this year. The union concluded its presentation to the second hearing by pointing out that today, like every day, teachers put their students first, and called on the Commissioners to do the same and reject the proposal if there is any chance of health concerns for students, teachers and residents.

The health and safety concerns were also raised in a written submission to the Commission.