NSW Govt accused of betrayal over coal policy

Published: August 12, 2013

The Lock the Gate Alliance has released a blistering critique of proposed amendments to coal mining laws in NSW as submissions close today, saying the Government has turned its back on the Strategic Regional Land Use Policies it released late last year.

Proposed changes to the State Environmental Planning Policy that controls coal mining in NSW will make the “significance” of a coal resource the primary consideration of decision-makers and will prevent authorities from refusing mines that meet minimum standards.

The changes to the Policy contradict the Strategic Regional Land Use policies released by the NSW Government last year, most of which have still never been enshrined in law, and which themselves were already a disappointing step down from pre-election promises.

“The NSW Government has effectively abandoned the promises they made to protect rural industries and water resources from the onslaught of coal mining. This is a betrayal of the bush” said Steve Phillips, Hunter Regional Co-ordinator with Lock The Gate Alliance.

"This government has even walked away from their 'Gateway Process', announced last year but never implemented, that was supposed to provide better protection of agricultural land. All that goes out the window with these changes, which will basically make coal king."

“It's appalling that the only response from the NSW Government to the explosive ICAC corruption findings into coal mining in NSW is to hand even more power to coal companies”.

“The Hunter Valley is struggling with unacceptable air pollution from coal dust. This policy will force consent authorities to approve mines that do not meet national air pollution standards and breach guidelines proposed by the World Health Organisation," he said.

Lock The Gate Alliance and others will be gathering outside the Supreme Court in Sydney on 14th August, at midday, to support the Bulga community who are being dragged through the courts by Rio Tinto and the NSW Government for opposing the Warkworth coal mine.

Read Lock The Gate's submission to the NSW Government on the proposed amendments to the Mining SEPP.

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