The New South Wales Planning Minister Rob Stokes recently announced an upcoming review of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industries) 2007(Mining SEPP) which will occur before September 2015.
In making this announcement the Minister indicated that:
- there will be an overhaul of the way large mining and coal seam gas projects secure approval
- environmental considerations must be a foundational concern in any decision about resource use
- the community will be given a greater chance to test the planning decisions
- society and the environment will get a more equal weighting with the economy in decision making, and
- there will be a focus on monitoring and compliance so that the consent doesn’t sit on a shelf after it is granted.
Proponent’s that rely on the Mining SEPP to carry out their operations should start giving consideration to how the SEPP can be improved, such as by the following means:
- examples of exempt and complying development that have minimal environmental impact and which should be included in the Mining SEPP
- dealing with issues faced in the implementation of the Gateway process, and
- changes to the application of clause 12AA regarding the significance of the resource.
Further updates on the proposed reforms to the Mining SEPP will be provided in due course.