NSW PAC Acknowledge Statutory Duty of Care With Children Exposed to Noise

In a decision to oppose the extension of a coal mine near Cullen Bullen in New South Wales, the Planning Assessment Commissioners in New South Wales, Dr Neil Shepherd AM, Mr Garry Payne AM, and Mr Joe Woodward PSM acknowledged on page 37 that:

NSW Health has highlighted the State’s duty of care to occupants of mine‐owned residences when dust and noise impacts are significantly above the relevant air and noise criteria

The letter from NSW health can be viewed here.

The Commissioners go on to acknowledge that in the case of children exposed to mining dust and noise there are additional considerations. They quote from the Camberwell Ashton mine decision, and later on page 37 they state:

…. “This issue has been canvassed recently in some detail by the Commission in its determination of the Ashton South East Open Cut Coal Project at Camberwell.”

The relevant section of that Report is included here for information:

‘This is a very difficult issue – particularly for children. The State accepts responsibility to control, or intervene in, the capacity of parents to expose children to risk in some aspects of life, but not in others (e.g. rigid requirements for child restraints in cars, but no protection from passive smoking). While it is true that a hierarchy of health risks for children would probably not have living in mine‐owned houses near the top of the risk profile; it is a modifiable risk and failure to address it can lead to increased overall health costs to the community. In this respect the Commission considers that the concerns of NSW Health are valid.