WOLLAR Public School has closed in the more than two years since mining company Peabody was ordered to complete a management plan of the social impacts of its expanding Wilpinjong coal mine on the village of Wollar.
Peabody completed the plan which has been with the Department of Planning since September last year. But it has not yet been released to Wollar residents or the public. A department spokesperson said the company had been asked to provide a revised plan after a department review.
"Once the plan has been approved the company will be required to make it public," the spokesperson said.
In a letter to Planning Minister Rob Stokes in June Wollar Progress Association pointed out the social impact management plan - believed to be the first of its kind - was a condition of consent when Wilpinjong's eighth expansion was approved in April, 2017.
Coal mined at Wilpinjong, between Denman and Mudgee, is used to provide a large percentage of the state's electricity generated at Bayswater and Liddell power stations.
"The social impact management plan is required to minimise and/or mitigate negative social impacts during operations," association president Bruce Hughes said.
"We wish to inform you that while the community of Wollar has been waiting for the plan to be released, Wollar Public School has gone into recess due to lack of pupils and the Wollar General Store opening hours will be decreased to four days per week from Monday, July 1.
"Both of these impacts are negative social outcomes that place additional social pressures on the diminished Wollar community."
Mr Stokes was told the negative impacts were a direct result of Peabody buying up properties in the area since the mine was first approved in 2006.
In 2017 the NSW Planning Assessment Commission strongly criticised the Department of Planning for its assessment of the impacts of mining company KEPCO buying up more than 13,000 hectares of land in Bylong Valley that would be directly and indirectly affected by a controversial proposed mine.
The department appeared to "accept a degree of inevitability" of the loss of community associated with the Hunter's super-sized open cut coal mines. The department was also rebuked for taking the view that mine acquisitions occurred under "open market conditions".
"Some sellers may have felt they had no option but to sell," the commission said.
The association told Mr Stokes the school closed because no mining families in the Wollar area sent their children to the school, and two families whose children attended the school and lived in Peabody-owned properties left the homes because of rent increases.
In a statement in 2018 after the Department of Education confirmed the school would not operate in 2019, Peabody denied significantly increasing rent on its properties and said it had been a strong supporter of the school.
Mr Stokes' office referred questions to the Department of Planning.