Lock the Gate Alliance has condemned the proposal to fast-track approval for mining and gas projects declared ‘state significant’ in NSW, and the associated plan to crack down on communities who dare to protest against the damage caused by mining.
The Daily Telegraph reports the announcement was made by Premier Mike Baird at a NSW Minerals Council function last night, highlighting yet again the close relationship and special treatment given to industry over the interests of communities.
Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Phil Laird said it is reckless for the NSW Government to promise it will halve the time taken to approve major coal and coal seam gas projects if it is re-elected.
“On the day two former mining ministers are charged for corruption, the Premier has promised to fast-track approval for damaging coal and coal seam gas projects, showing that special deals for mining companies are endemic in NSW” Phil Laird said.
"The ICAC recommended that merits appeal rights be reinstated because our courts are seen as an important control over corruption in relation to coal mining and planning in this state. Yet the NSW Government has repeatedly failed to deliver on that.
"We've had our request to meet the Premier with people from mining-affected communities rejected, but the mining industry is much more fortunate - the decision to speed up approvals apparently arose after 13 mining executives met with the Premier.
"This was apparently a 'crisis' meeting called by the NSW Minerals Council who were outraged that 2 coal mines had been rejected on environmental grounds, out of a total of 30 coal mines that have been approved over the last 2 years.
“The mining industry expects 100% approval rates, and are determined to quash any communities who object to the impacts they have on water, food production and human health. Now, the Premier has promised he'll crack down hard on communities who object to unfettered mining against their communities wishes.
“About 75% of people in NSW think that our farmlands, water and environment need protecting from the impacts of coal and coal seam gas mining.
“It is also increasingly clear that most of the benefits from these projects go to overseas investors while communities in regional NSW are left to clean up the mess left behind.
“The NSW Government should be protecting the essentials of life and communities from the threat of coal and coal seam gas mining, not locking in damage for decades to come" he said.