The NSW Minerals Council has called on the Government to strike a balance in strategic land use planning and to provide certainty.
Speaking at the Environment and Community Conference today in Wollongong, NSWMC CEO Nikki Williams stated that "the Government must find an appropriate balance between different industries and developments, with no one group favoured over any other and it must continue consulting widely as it develops its land use plans. It’s a difficult job, but one it must get right if it is to ensure a strong future for our communities and our industries."
The Queensland Government is close to legislating its ‘strategic cropping land policy’ following an extensive process.
Williams stated that there are lessons in the QLD policy development that NSW should take on board.
She went on to say that there needs to be increased focus on mine rehabilitation.
"We have made significant progress over the last 12 months, but there is much more to be done. The three areas of rehabilitation, air quality and community engagement, are ones where we need to keep improving.
“We must take the lead and address rehabilitation practices. No matter what we do to reduce the impact of mining, we’re always trying to do better.
“That’s why we bring experts from overseas like Mark Yinling, Vice President Environment and Conservancy at Peabody Energy United States to provide advice and share best practice on rehabilitation challenges.
“Mark will discuss the successful rehabilitation of agricultural land in the U.S. and how the mining industry there can continue providing low cost energy while restoring productive lands through the use of proven technologies [at today’s conference]. The US experience could have significant implications for Australia and our industry.
Williams added that regulation of NSW’s mining industry has been improved over the last few years, strengthening control of the state’s mines.
"We have provided the NSW Government with over $1 billion worth of environmental bonds, a kind of insurance policy for NSW residents," she said.
“We’re also considering how to develop a new overarching plan for a more strategic approach to rehabilitation, as part of the Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue and how this would fit into the new regional strategic land use planning process."