Lock the Gate Alliance has welcomed draft guidelines for assessment of the social impact of mining projects including, for the first time, health impacts, saying that they will provide for more balanced and accurate assessment of mining impacts.
In a submission to the draft guidelines, the Alliance has urged the Government to go further, renewing a push for repeal of the controversial mining Acquisition Policy which it says is the cause of considerable social harm from mining.
Lock the Gate Alliance NSW Coordinator Georgina Woods said, “We welcome the introduction of these guidelines. It is really terrific to see the Government take the social impacts of large scale coal mining seriously, particularly the health impacts, which have not previously been considered and which are substantial.
“We hope this new approach to assessing mining will result in more balanced decisions and some lines being drawn for the protection of people’s health and wellbeing. It’s fair to say there are a lot people suffering health and social impacts from coal mines that really were not considered when the mines were approved.
“There are still some important steps that are needed, particularly when we see Government policy itself causing quite severe distress and health damage. The practice of nominating properties that will be badly impacted by noise and pollution, the owners of which can request to be bought out is top of our list for change.
“It’s not acceptable for the Government to allow coal mines to create unsafe and intolerable levels of air and noise pollution so that everyone else must move. Those that are left behind are stranded without compensation and without community.
“These guidelines are a terrific first step to understanding the social impact of mining: the next step is to change the policies and laws that are allowing those impacts to occur.”