The NSW Government has further introduced a range of new initiatives addressing land use conflicts in regional areas, particularly between the coal mining and coal seam gas industries and agricultural industries. The longer term measures of the initiatives are designed to provide local communities, industries and other stakeholders with greater certainty about the changes of regions over time. The measures include the introduction of Strategic Regional Use Plans aiming to identify the best places for a range of land uses (agriculture, mining, coal seam gas extraction, conservation, urban development etc) and an overarching Coal and Gas Policy providing an overview of the current state of the industries and the likely growth over the next 25 years.
The initiatives include important transitional arrangements which take immediate effect, such as:
- a 60-day moratorium on the granting of new coal, coal seam gas and petroleum exploration licences
- new applications for coal, coal seem gas and petroleum exploration licences be exhibited for public comment before issuance of the licence
- new project applications for coal, coal seam gas and petroleum extraction be accompanied by an Agricultural Impact Assessment, and
- an Aquifer Interference Policy, which includes new measures to better regulate activities with an impact on vital aquifers be put on exhibition for public comment.
Click here to view the Minister for Planning & Infrastructure’s announcement.