A NSW Liberal Government would do everything in its power to stop a charcoal plant being built near Mogo, regardless of the outcome of the current Land and Environment Court case.
That was the pledge from Liberal hopeful Andrew Constance yesterday, following a briefing on the issue from members of the Charcoalition.
The Liberal candidate for Bega said he was committed to fighting the Carr Government's decision to give planning approval for Australian Silicon's proposal to build a charcoal plant between Mogo and Broulee.
"We will be doing everything in our power to stop the plant, regardless of the outcome of the court case," Mr Constance said.
"This fight is not over by any stretch of the political imagination."
The charcoal plant was approved by the Minister for Planning on May 1 this year but the decision has been challenged in the Land and Environment Court. hearings begin in October 8.
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Mr Constance committed a Liberal Government to overturning the planning decision made by the Carr Government and said he was investigating what avenues were available for a Parliamentary Inquiry into the process that was followed.
However Mr Constance said it was vital the community kept the political pressure on in the lead up to the next State election.
"I think that the community needs to continue to put as much pressure as possible on the State Government, particularly in an election context,' he said.
He urged as many people as possible to attend the protest rally on September 21, which will also be attended by Opposition environment spokesperson Patricia Forsythe and Opposition planning spokesman Andrew Humpherson.
"I think the main thing is that the fight is now going to step up a notch," Mr Constance said.
"The next three months are important in terms of community activism.
"This issue goes beyond the boundaries of the Bega electorate. . .it is critical we keep the pressure on."
However Mr Constance admitted it was "near impossible" for politicians to do anything about the development approval while the matter was before the court.
"The strongest avenue has to be community-based pressure," he said.
"In terms of the court process, I don't think it would be wise for any community to roll over.
"The pristine environment we have here has to be protected and maintained.
Mr Constance said he was particularly concerned about impact of extra heavy vehicle movements on the Princes Highway.
"It is only going to make the situation worse," he said.
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