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Now is the time for the government to act on Margaret River

In two weeks time, three mining leases critical to the proposed Margaret River coal mine are set to expire.

Independent MP Adele Carles is calling on the Government to allow these leases to expire on the 11th day of October 2010, so that the legal right to mine in Margaret River is removed.

The Minister for Mines and Petroleum, has been quoted as saying that these leases will roll over for another 21 years as of right.

Ms Carles says that this is not what the Mining Act 1978 says – in fact an application for renewal must be made in a prescribed manner and then the Minister must exercise his discretion in deciding whether or not to grant a further term.

“The Minister has discretion under section 78(2) of the Mining Act 1978 to determine whether or not to renew these mining leases” Ms Carles said.

“Today I am calling on the Minister to exercise his discretion in favour of the people of Margaret River. The Government has a clear opportunity to now draw a line in the sand on this issue and to tell the coal miners that they are not welcome in Margaret River.”

Ms Carles says the Act makes clear that the power to renew the leases is not a right of the lessee to renew; rather it is a discretion vested in the Minister.

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