New mine inspectors are to hit the Hunter Valley to ensure coal mines are complying with safety conditions.
Planning minister Tony Kelly expects that they “will hit the ground running.
"They’ll be going out and meeting the companies straight away and making sure that they are adhering to the conditions of consent."
Based in Singleton, the three new officers will monitor whether State Government approvals for the mines have been followed, as well as carry out independent audits.
The public can report any concerns over mines to the Mining Compliance team via the Department of Environment’s complaints hotline.
The Department’s freecall number, 131555, was put forward as the first point for complaints.
Compliance team leader Scott Brooks said when complaints are not pollution specific, such as a plume of dust or a procedural complaint, then they will go and inspect the mine.
Despite the employment of these compliance inspectors, Kelly said that mines have changed their procedures to better meet the concerns of their communities.
“Mining companies over the last five to ten years have changed their attitudes,” Kelly said.
"Most of them for example restore and reclaim disused mines sites as they go and that has a big impact on dust for example."