The NSW Minerals Council says the next state government needs to fix the planning system and restore confidence in NSW as a place to invest.
The council has released a plan aimed at strengthening NSW mining beyond 2015. It outlines the policy priorities needed to ensure mining stays strong in the state.
The council says the top priority is to fix the NSW Planning system in order to streamline processes and shorten assessment times for major projects.
"It must also include reform of the PAC process, and returning democratic accountability by restoring Ministerial decision making on State Significant Development,” NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said.
“We’ve had a commitment from the Premier that the planning system will be fixed, and some progress is being made, by there’s much more to do. We also need a commitment from Labor to ensure a bipartisan approach that puts the long term interests of NSW first.”
NSW Mining is also calling for stronger protection from the safety risks posed by the illegal access of mine sites by extreme anti-mining protesters.
“Without action from the NSW Government to deter this reckless behaviour it’s only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt, despite the best efforts of police and emergency services personnel and site workers to ensure safety,” Galilee said.
"Thankfully, the NSW Government has promised to get tougher on these extreme activists, but until we see some changes, lives remain at risk. We need laws that hold activists responsible for their actions and tougher penalties applied as a deterrent to others."
Other measures outlined in the NSW Minerals Council’s election plan include policies that support mining exploration, and the expansion of the Resources for Regions program to ensure more mining communities are eligible to apply for funding.
“Mining is an important and strategic industry for NSW with strong community support. It provides the coal needed to deliver over 80 percent of electricity in NSW; directly employs 38,000 people in NSW and sustains the jobs of thousands more; supports over 8,200 business across the state; and is forecast to deliver $7.4 billion to NSW in royalties over the next four years," Galilee said.
“Regardless of who leads NSW after the March election, the economic prosperity of our state and future jobs growth will be heavily dependent on a strong and dynamic mining industry.”