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IPC lock out leaves NSW communities vulnerable

The Berejiklian Government’s move to lock the Independent Planning Commission out of decisions on some major developments is a threat to communities battling destructive coal and gas projects, according to Lock the Gate Alliance. 

Today, via a State and Environmental Planning Policy amendment, the Berejiklian Government made it harder for communities to enlist the Commission as the decision maker for controversial major projects.

The three key changes are:

1.       Require 50 submissions for the IPC to be the consent authority, rather than 25.

2.       The IPC is no longer a consent authority for modifications that have a large number of objections, though this function will continue where the proponent has made a reportable political donation.

3.       Petitions and bulk submissions are now counted as one submission.

“These changes make it more difficult for communities to work together to have their opposition to major coal and gas projects heard and secure the involvement of the Independent Planning Commission as the decision maker,” said Lock the Gate Alliance NSW spokesperson Georgina Woods. 

“Raising the objection number to 50 and dismissing petitions and form submissions reduces the opportunity for small rural communities to have the Commission determine big mining and gas projects that threaten their livelihoods and their local environments.

“Modifications of approved mining operations are notorious for increasing the scale and intensity of mining and its impact on local people. We’re very concerned the government locking the IPC out of decisions on mine modifications leaves communities without an independent decision-maker. 

“When combined with moves to effectively abolish consideration of downstream climate impacts from mining and gas projects, these changes swing the NSW planning system further in favour of mining giants and away from local communities.

“NSW communities are still counting the cost of the worst bushfire season ever, and it is appalling the Berejiklian Government’s priority is to make it easier for mining and gas projects to railroad rural communities, destroy farmland and belch more carbon dioxide into our atmosphere.”

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