The Berejiklian Government’s Environmental Planning and Assessment (Territorial Limits) Bill will stop consideration of greenhouse gas emissions at a time when they need more than ever to be taken into account.
The Bill is facing an inquiry in the Legislative Council, which is holding a public hearing all day tomorrow (Thursday Feb 6).
It would effectively stop planning authorities from considering the impact of downstream greenhouse gas emissions from coal and gas mining projects.
Julie Lyford from Groundswell Gloucester said it was reprehensible that the government was considering such legislation as climate-change induced bushfires continued to rage across the state.
“The coal being mined and exported from New South Wales is contributing to climate change and fuelling the heat and fire that are devastating regional New South Wales. This is not the time to be blinding ourselves to the consequences of coal mining,” she said.
“The Barrington-Manning river system has also run dry for the first time ever. This is clearly an example of climate change in action.
“We are pleading with the Berejiklian Government to listen to the community, listen to scientists, listen to reason, and scrap this Bill.”
President of the NSW Public Health Association and senior research fellow at the University of Sydney School of Public Health Patrick Harris said greenhouse gas emissions were having a worsening impact on public health.
“This government is ignoring the very real and present danger climate change poses to people’s health by considering this legislation,” he said.
“If greenhouse gas emissions including those from NSW, continue to increase, we will see an exponential rise in climate-change related illnesses, such as respiratory conditions associated with bushfires.”
Lock the Gate Alliance NSW coordinator Georgina Woods said the government had capitulated to the mining industry by introducing this Bill, and urged MPs to pull back from the brink.
“We urge the Minister to withdraw the legislation he has introduced that winds back consideration of climate change in our planning laws and give the people a say in this hugely important issue," she said.
“The mining industry must not be allowed to have a voice more powerful than that of everyday people when the threat of climate change is already impacting so many of us.”