Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

NSW Government introduces an all new ‘mining development approval policy’

“The NSW Government today introduced a draft planning policy to facilitate mining development.  If adopted the policy, which is on public display for two weeks, will make the significance of the mineral resource the principle consideration when considering a new mining proposal,” Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness revealed.

“The NSW Government’s Mining Department# will decide what a significant resource is, so the fate of mining proposals will be determined by pro-mining government bureaucrats,” Mr Muir said.

“The Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services# (DTIRIS) believes that just about every mineral deposit is a significant resource,” he said.

“The Policy will severely weaken the independent role of the Planning Assessment Commission and the advice of the Department of Planning and Infrastructure in relation to mining developments.  These government agencies will be unable to act in the public interest against already powerful mining interests, as mineral exploitation will always be (under the law) the principle consideration no matter what”, said Mr Muir.

“There is nothing balanced about this policy.  The reference to non-discretionary standards will be used by mining industry consultants to prove compliance, regardless of whether these standards could be achieved in practice.  The professional judgement of Planning Commissioners will be fettered by these requirements and under pressure to accept ‘compliance modelling’, even when it is a pile of bulldust!”, Mr Muir said. 

“Watch how the Coalpac open-cut development proposal in the spectacular Gardens of Stone near Lithgow is now approved, based on advice from DTIRIS, even though the Planning Assessment Commission review has already recommended against it”, he added.

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 0412 791 404 (mob)

draft State Environmental Planning Policy (Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industries) Amendment (Resource Significance) 2013