6 October 2016
Update regarding the Murphy Property
The NSW Environmental Defender’s Office (EDO), representing Mr Pat Murphy, has alleged that the following statement contained in a release titled ABC Australian Story – Key Facts which was posted on Whitehaven’s website on 28 June 2016 is false and misleading:
The NSW EDO’s claim that there are no limits on dust and noise from the Maules Creek Mine that apply to Pat’s property and his residence is wrong. There are clear limits which the company is required to adhere to under its licence conditions which ensure that neither Pat nor his family are exposed to undue health risks, or deprived of their right to peace and quiet.
Whitehaven stands by this statement and rejects the EDO’s claim that it is false and misleading. The purpose of this Update is to provide additional context for the above statement and to provide an update on Whitehaven’s dealings with Mr Murphy.
Noise and Dust Limits
In relation to noise limits, Condition 8 of Schedule 3 of the planning approval for the Maules Creek mine (Planning Approval) entitles Mr Murphy to request an independent noise impact assessment if he has reason to believe that operational noise from the mine is exceeding a limit of 35dB(A) at his residence. If this independent assessment determines that the noise generated by the mine causes sustained exceedances, or is likely to cause sustained exceedances of this 35dB(A) limit, Mr Murphy can request Whitehaven to implement mitigation measures to reduce the noise impacts of the mine on his residence. If Mr Murphy and Whitehaven are unable to agree on the mitigation measures, either party may refer the matter to the Secretary of the NSW Department of Planning and Environment for determination. Whitehaven would fully cooperate with Mr Murphy and the Department in relation to this process.
Results of noise monitoring conducted by Whitehaven at a neighbouring property within 400 metres of Mr Murphy’s residence confirm that the mine is operating within the Condition 8 noise limits at that location. Mr Murphy has rejected Whitehaven’s offer to install noise monitors at his residence.
In relation to air quality limits, Condition 29 of Schedule 3 of the Planning Approval sets out air quality limits which apply to a number of residences including those adjacent to Mr Murphy’s residence. The obligation on Whitehaven to comply with Condition 29 practically benefits Mr Murphy as air quality modelling undertaken by Whitehaven indicates that compliance with Condition 29 at these neighbouring locations results in compliance with Condition 29 air quality limits at Mr Murphy’s residence.
Results of air quality monitoring conducted by Whitehaven at a neighbouring location within 400 metres of Mr Murphy’s residence confirm that the mine is operating within the Condition 29 air quality limits at that location. Mr Murphy has rejected Whitehaven’s offer to install air quality monitors at his residence
Compulsory Acquisition Rights
In addition to the above protections, the Planning Approval grants Mr Murphy compulsory acquisition rights for his properties. These rights entitle Mr Murphy, without having to prove any environmental impact, to require Whitehaven to acquire his properties at market value together with costs and reasonable compensation for disturbance caused by the land acquisition process.
Update on dealings with Mr Murphy
Whitehaven provides the following update on its dealings with Mr Murphy:
- Mr Murphy’s claim that he and his family are the subjects of damaging noise impacts is not supported by the fact that, at all times through Whitehaven’s negotiations with him, Mr Murphy has indicated that one of the options he is considering is to remain on the property for a period of up to 10 years following a sale to Whitehaven.
- Whitehaven offered to buy Mr Murphy’s property for $2.5 million; double what he acquired the property for in 2009. Mr Murphy has offered to sell the property to Whitehaven for $17.8 million. Despite frequent communications with Mr Murphy, he has not since counter-offered and continues to refuse Whitehaven’s offer to arrange for a contemporary independent valuation of his property.
Whitehaven remains committed to seeking a speedy resolution of this matter with Mr Murphy on reasonable terms.