Lock the Gate Alliance has today released its agenda for the upcoming NSW election, asking political parties to commit to sweeping reforms of mining and planning law to restore balance.
An editorial in today’s Sydney Morning Herald describes the massive coal expansion proposed in the state’s Strategic Assessment and community concern about the impacts of mining as "just as dangerous" for Mike Baird as the privatization of poles and wires.
“Members of the Alliance were dismayed that the NSW Coalition Government walked away from its 2011 election promises regarding mining and coal seam gas after it came to power,” said Phil Laird, National Coordinator for Lock the Gate.
“A suite of Liberal-National Coalition promises that encompassed no go zones, ring fences and protections for groundwater and community health were trashed a few months into government.
"Since then communities have had to fight a rear guard action to protect themselves and their environment.
“This election the Alliance is seeking real commitments from the political parties to rein in the extractive industries, providing certainty to regional communities and committing to the protection of land and water" he said.
In order to help its members understand the commitments of the parties the Alliance is seeking responses from party leaders to a series of questions, including querying the parties’ positions on:
- Stamping out corruption-prone approval processes,
- Creating mining exclusion areas for farmland and water resources,
- Introducing health assessment and basic regulations to protect people from air pollution,
- Restoration of community merits appeal rights to challenge mine approvals in court,
- Respecting the will of communities and individuals who choose to say 'no' to mining
- Rectifying the failures of the NSW Gas Plan
A full list of the detailed questions can be found here: http://www.lockthegate.org.au/nswvotes
Phil Laird said, “Last weekend, it was revealed that the NSW Government has been meeting secretly with 11 coal companies to open up 45,000 hectares of new coal mining areas in the Hunter, suggesting that little has been learnt from the ICAC coal corruption scandals.
"Meanwhile, the NSW Gas Plan is in tatters after it was effectively rejected by a cross-party NSW Parliamentary Inquiry.
"These are issues that matter to country New South Wales, and increasingly people in the city are aware and focussed on the damage that mining is doing to our water and our foodbowls.
“We’re asking the parties to respond to our questions by 13 March, so the community can have a clear understanding of their commitments when it comes to mining.”