From the Nature Conservation Council: BURNT TO ASHES. Wetlands should not burn, but this one did because it has been undermined by coal mining. They've cracked the bedrock and the water has drained out, and now it is destroyed... forever.

We recently teamed up with local Lithgow environmentalists to investigate and document the damage done to areas that have been undermined by Centennial Coal. What we discovered was a disaster zone.

Endangered wetlands have been turned into lifeless, dusty deserts. These areas which were once the life-blood of the forest and supported an incredible diversity of rare wildlife are now barren.

Longwall mining deliberately collapses the ground after the machine extracts the coal. This causes cracks in the bedrock, which drains water from the wetlands. They dry out and become extremely vulnerable to fires, and many of the wetlands of the Newnes Plateau scorched during the 2019/20 bushfires.

Already some wetlands have been lost forever. We seek to protect the remaining wetlands from the same disaster. The re-opening and expansion of Angus Place mine under the remaining wetlands should be rejected. This area of the Newens Plateau should be protected from mining.

From the Nature Conservation Council: The conservation movement had a big win last week. The 30,000ha Gardens of Stone State Conservation Area (SCA), with $50 million of funding for management and upgrades, was announced by the NSW Government.

This is the last piece in Myles Dunphy’s 1932 proposal for a Greater Blue Mountains National Park. It has taken 90 years, but it has finally been completed.

This area is truly unique and deserves protection. Amazing rock formations called pagodas dot the landscape, with gorges, canyons and waterways winding between them. There are valleys with lush rainforest and high-country woodlands, including patches of snow gum. There are amazing wetlands that support unique wildlife like the giant dragonfly.

Watch this video to learn about the importance of the Gardens of Stone, the history of the campaign and how it was won.

The Gardens of Stone has been under threat from mining for decades. Longwall coal extraction techniques have undermined wetlands, drained the water and turned them into dustbowls.

While a state conservation area does not prohibit mining in the way that a national park declaration does, it is important recognition that the area special values deserve protection.

While Centennial Coal has withdrawn its proposal to expand the Angus Place coal mine, it still wants to extract coal and has submitted a proposal mine underground at Angus Place West. That application has a long way to go through the assessment and approval process, and we will oppose it every step of the way. We will always oppose mining in this precious natural landscape.

The Gardens of Stone SCA isn’t just a win for nature. This new reserve will bring significant jobs, tourism and investment to the town of Lithgow and support its transition to a low-carbon world. Governments must support towns that have relied on coal to diversify their economies so they can continue to thrive. This decision is a good example of how we can support local communities and nature.

Over the 90 years of campaigning, groups like the Colo Committee, Blue Mountains Conservation Society, Lithgow Environment Group, Colong Foundation for Wilderness, Bushwalking NSW, Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute, National Parks Association of NSW, and the National Trust have kept the Gardens of Stone vision alive and on the political agenda.

This win would not have happened without the support of thousands of people like you making submissions, signing petitions, donating, lobbying MPs, sending postcards and otherwise supporting the Gardens of Stone proposal.

We thank Premier Dominic Perrottet, Deputy Premier Paul Toole and the Treasurer and Environment Minister Matt Kean for giving the Gardens of Stone the protection it deserves.

To learn more about the area and to get an idea of what the new park will offer, visit www.gardensofstone.org.au and www.destinationpagoda.com.au