The Lock the Gate Alliance today welcomed the O'Farrell government's announcement it would ban coal seam gas mining in residential areas and around industry clusters but warned that this would not go anywhere near calming public concern about the issue.
Lock the Gate president Drew Hutton said the announcement did not address such concerns as:
- coal mining, especially in places like Leard Forest, Gloucester and the Hunter
- all mining in residential areas with a concentrated population of less than 1000 and rural residential areas
- good farm land
- water catchments
- areas with vulnerable underground water systems
- important environmental areas such as the Pilliga and the Northern Rivers
- CSG approvals already given as at Gloucester.
Mr Hutton noted the Chief Scientist and Engineer would be asked to do a review of all CSG activities and their impact on water catchments but warned this would not put an end to his movement's resistance to any moves to continue with coal or coal seam gas exploration in the meantime.
"There has been an appalling level of government irresponsibility in the granting of mining approvals in New South Wales and this has allowed a tsunami of destruction to threaten many areas of the state," Mr Hutton said.
"The O'Farrell government must accept the community's strong desire to have this challenge addressed with fundamental changes to the regulation of mining not just piecemeal measures."