Lock the Gate Alliance has congratulated the new ministers announced today in the cabinet reshuffle by the new Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, but called for quick action on mining and gas issues by responsible ministers and for the National Party to finally speak up for the bush.
“We are concerned that this reshuffle has moved all but one of the key ministers who has legislative responsibilities for mining, and that this will set back the momentum for change that has been building to protect land, water and communities” Lock the Gate NSW Coordinator, Georgina Woods said.
“We are pleased that Niall Blair has retained the water and primary industries portfolios, and we hope that he will now use this opportunity to protect important farmland and precious water resources from risky coal and gas mining.
“This is a vital chance for the National Party to reset their relationship with people in the bush in relation to mining, and to finally do what they promised more than six years ago and protect our unique agricultural assets. We hope Minister Niall Blair is up to that challenge.
“Gabrielle Upton takes on the environment portfolio at a crucial time, when she has the chance to finally deliver a strong Clean Air Plan and stop the unfettered air pollution by coal mining companies that is costing lives in the Hunter Valley.
“The new Planning Minister, Anthony Roberts, is moving directly from the mining portfolio. It’s important that he makes a clean break from his close contact with mining companies in his former role, and puts the public interest front and centre in his new position.
“We’re grateful to the outgoing Planning Minister, Rob Stokes, for returning some balance to the planning portfolio and by moving to release, for the first time, a set of social impact assessment guidelines for mines.
“However, there is a long way to go to resolve mining conflict and we are urging Minister Roberts and his colleagues to complete the unfinished business of mining reform to protect the people, landscapes and water resources of NSW.
“We also welcome the new Resources Minister, Donald Harwin MLC. One of the first decisions he will have on his desk is the future of the Shenhua mining lease on the Liverpool Plains, and we're calling on him to cancel the lease and protect our national foodbowl,” Ms Woods said.