February 8, 2013
NSW Farmers is imploring the NSW Premier to broker a peace deal after the Federal Environment Minister issued an ultimatum to the NSW Resources Minister to toughen the state’s mining and coal seam gas approvals processes. NSW Farmers President Fiona Simon said unfortunately the land and water protections that are now in place do little to protect these precious resources and Tony Burke is right to be questioning whether federal intervention is required. She said the Strategic Regional Land Use Plans released in late 2012 failed to rule any areas of the state off-limits to mining, delivered unenforceable water protections, introduced a Land and Water Commissioner without enforcement powers and delivered an approvals process more akin to a freeway than a gateway. “More importantly, the new assessment framework will not apply to the 46 major mining and gas projects that have already entered the planning system,” she said. “We have made it clear that a strong regulatory framework to place sensible limits on mining and coal seam gas impacts at a state level is our preference, but we have reached an impasse with the NSW Government which is avoiding confrontation with the mining and gas lobby at all costs. “The Premier has a chance to fix this mess and we don’t think it is too late. “By seeking advice from the Independent Commission Against Corruption yesterday, Premier O’Farrell has demonstrated he is willing to turn back the clock on the former government’s mistakes.” “We have confidence the Premier will use the same logic to insist that his own government urgently deliver a more rigorous assessment process for mining and CSG proposals,” Ms Simson concluded. NSW Farmers is calling for enforceable thresholds on water impacts and for the state’s best agricultural land to be ruled off-limits to mining and gas development.