After NSW ministers skipped the state’s 11am Covid press conference, which is now being handled by health officials, they are also expected to be absent from today’s NSW upper house sitting.
Their absence means the 2.15pm scheduled sitting will fold — at least that’s the prediction of Labor, Greens and minor parties.
The Legislative Council, as it is known, was due to sit with a Covid-safe quorum of around eight in the chamber. But it’s widely predicted the sitting will be brief because under standing order 34 there must be a government minister present for the sitting to proceed.
The premier Gladys Berejiklian has said in her view parliament should reconvene on 12 October.
NSW parliament hasn’t sat since 23 June when it was dissolved due to a minister contracting Covid, prompting an emergency shut down.
Instead there is likely to be a loud and raucous debate about the importance of democracy and whether the parliament can sit safely before it ends with an inevitable shutdown.
The Greens MP David Shoebridge:
SO (standing order) 34 was introduced to increase the authority of the upper house to ensure that questions could be asked to ministers in that chamber.
It certainly wasn’t intended to be a veto on democracy.
The upper house decided not to sit last week so it could finalise its CovidsSafety plan. That’s now been done, so Shoebridge questions why the government is refusing to sit.
Mining company Kepco loses second appeal over Bylong Valley coal project in NSW
The NSW court of appeal has upheld a decision to reject an underground and open-cut coalmine in the state’s Bylong Valley.
The court dismissed South Korean miner Kepco’s appeal on Tuesday morning, finding that the NSW Independent Planning Commission (IPC) acted lawfully when it refused the proposed mine almost two years ago.
An earlier appeal by Kepco in the NSW Land and Environment Court had also resulted in the decision being upheld.
The IPC refused development approval for the project in 2019 citing the unacceptable impact the mine would have on farming land and the environment – including through greenhouse gas emissions – as well as the costs to future generations.
Kepco appealed against the decision and a community group, the Bylong Valley Protection Alliance, successfully argued to join the case and defend the IPC’s ruling, after the commission itself declined to take an active role in proceedings.
Rana Koroglu, managing lawyer at the Environmental Defenders Office, which represented the alliance, said it was time for the company to walk away from the project:
The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report delivered a ‘code red’ for humanity on climate. It’s clear we cannot afford to develop more greenfield coal mines at a time when the world needs to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Koroglu said witnesses had presented compelling scientific evidence to the IPC before it reached its decision in 2019 that showed the mine was not in the public interest:
Two subsequent appeals have thoroughly tested and supported the IPC’s decision to refuse the mine.
Comment has been sought from Kepco.