The NSW Government is holding the first of four consultation sessions for the development of its Coal & Gas Strategy.
A Reference Group, represented by several organisations ranging from minerals bodies such as the NSW Minerals Council (NSWMC) to landholders and environmental groups, has been appointed by Minister for Planning Tony Kelly, and will report back to the Ministerial Sub-Committee of Cabinet in developing the strategy.
NSWMC CEO Nikki Williams said she is looking forward to listening to the communities in Gunnedah, Singleton, Lithgow and Wollongong over the coming weeks as the strategy is developed.
She went on to say that “for too long we, and other, have been calling for action on the need for strategic land use planning in NSW and it is good to see the current government getting the ball rolling.
“While we must develop the State’s resources responsibly, we recognise that there are some concerns about the scale of the development of mineral resources in some parts of the State. That’s why we are working with the community to directly address those issues through programs like the Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue.”
Australian Mining previously spoke to the NSWMC’s Sue-Ern Tan, following former finance minister Michael Costa’s warning that the NSW resources industry was in danger from environmental groups with an agenda against mining.
Tan said “we clearly need to balance the growth of industry because of the economical benefits it brings, but also need to balance this with environmental concerns and health concerns that are legitimate worries from farmers and land users. The most important thing the council will be doing first is listening to community concerns.”
The Minerals Council sees these complex land use issues and the need for a resolution as critical to the future of the State.
“The community wants to see real leadership from government to provide a road map that will minimise land use conflicts, provide certainty for all land users and maximise the capacity of NSW,” Williams said.
The Reference Group includes the NSW Farmers Association, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, the Association of Mining Related Councils, the Nature Conservation Council of NSW and the Total Environment Centre.