The Lock the Gate Alliance submission to the NSW Government's Strategic Regional Land Use Policy has called for communities to be given a veto right over exploration, mining and gas production in their regions.
Recommendation 8 of 12 in the submission reads: "Introduce a process to enable local communities to be able to say no to mining and petroleum exploration or production in their areas.
Lock the Gate President Drew Hutton said, "Communities should have a right to say no to mining and gas production. They should be able to decide their own future when it comes to what industries they support and how to manage their natural resources for the benefit of the community.
"The key problem with the regional land use plans is that communities are still left out of the decision making process. Agricultural regions and tourist towns are having their long-term economic futures put at risk by the mining at all costs decisions being made by state Governments.
"The Government's current plans are simply a framework to allow mining anywhere in NSW. There is not a single area that a family, a farmer or another business operator can move without the chance of an exploration licence being issued and future mining being permitted.
"More than 15,000 people have rallied against these plans in Sydney and the Northern Rivers and they are fed up with telling Governments the same thing – they want mining ruled out in productive agricultural areas, in areas of high biodiversity value, in closely settled areas and in our water catchments. The way to protect these community assets is to give communities the right to say no to mining and gas developments.
The Government has this last chance to put in place a model that will end the land use conflict and protect agricultural land, the environment, water resources and existing sustainable industries. If they don't, the community stands ready to lock the gate.
The Lock the Gate Alliance submission can be read in full here.