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Mining-friendly federal review has the wrong end of the stick: reform needs to stop damage to regional and farming communities

Lock the Gate Alliance fears a Federal Government review of mining assessment regulation and time frames will further reduce the ability for regional communities to fight inappropriate and unwanted resource exploitation.

Alliance spokesperson Naomi Hogan said across the country, mining regulation had consistently failed to protect landholders, water resources, and regional communities.

“While a review of mining assessment processes is sorely needed, Lock the Gate Alliance believes this should focus on supporting the rights of communities and landholders, not those of big mining companies, as the government’s plan appears designed to do,” she said.

Ms Hogan said the Productivity Commission-led review, announced on August 5 in the Hunter Valley, needed to take a look at how mining regulation was failing regional communities.

“Any review into mining approvals should focus on better protecting key strategic agricultural land and protecting the health of communities who may be under threat from inappropriate resource exploitation,” she said.

“Since Matt Canavan visited the Hunter Valley, all he needed to do to understand how mining regulation is failing was to look around and talk to the people suffering due to worsening air quality, driven in large part by the unchecked expansion of the coal industry.

“Parts of the Hunter, including major towns like Singleton and Muswellbrook, now regularly record air quality worse than national standards.

“There are far too few checks and balances in the planning system to ensure that water resources, social cohesion and public health are not compromised by resource projects. We need a review alright and it needs to give people the ability to safeguard land, water, and communities from degradation by mining.

“The system we’ve got isn’t even close to being strong enough, and any attempt to weaken it further will cause lasting damage to regional communities.”

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