NSW’s new mining rules face protest

The NSW Government’s planned new mining project rules is facing opposition from activists, farmers and residents, who are protesting in Sydney today.

The protest is opposing the state’s new planning policy proposal for mining project approvals.

The draft policy says the economy must be top priority when approving a project. It said the amount of the resource must be the main concern.

Bulga residents, activist groups like Bylong Valley Protection Alliance and broadcaster Alan Jones will also gather outside the Supreme Court to hear Rio Tinto and the state government appeals against a Land and Environment Court verdict that stopped the extension of the Mount Thorley Warkworth mine.

Lock the Gate Alliance spokesman Steve Phillips feels the government is backing away from a major election promise to look after agricultural land and its “gateway process” for considering mining ventures.

“All that goes out the window with these changes, which basically make coal king,” he said.

The state’s new planning policy proposals for mining projects was on exhibition for two weeks and asked for submissions.

But NSW Farmers president Fiona Simson said it was “grossly inadequate” to propose “something with such large ramifications” with just a two week period for submissions, the Newcastle Herald reported.

The NSW Minerals Council chief Stephen Galilee supports the government's proposal, saying it was needed for investor confidence.

He recently warned continued deferrals and delays in NSW mining projects could cost the state 29,000 jobs and $10.3 billion in investment over the next 20 years.

The government has not yet employed a policy that would put exclusion areas for coal seam gas wells on industry land, and within two kilometres of residential areas.

Cabinet showed its support for this in February.

Any disagreements over land would have to be mulled over before a development application could be submitted, according to the Department of Planning and Infrastructure.

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