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Tougher controls on mining and coal seam gas

Member for Penrith Stuart Ayres today welcomed tough new controls on the mining and coal seam gas industry and improved protection for high-quality agricultural land.

“The Coalition Government has delivered on its strategic regional land-use policy which it took to the March 2011 election,” Mr Ayres said.

\”Penrith residents have contacted me regarding Coal Seam Gas in NSW and these changes have been introduced to address their concerns.\”

Mr Ayres said the government had announced:

  • Draft strategic regional land-use plans for the Upper Hunter and New England North West regions – the two highest-growth mining regions in the State
  • A draft code of practice to better regulate the coal seam industry’s interaction with landowners
  • A draft aquifer interference policy which improves protection for the groundwater needed by farmers
  • A doubling of fines for coal seam gas companies wrongly damaging private or Crown land; and
  • New community consultation guidelines to ensure communities are both aware of, and consulted on, new exploration licence applications

Future regional land-use plans are proposed for the Central West, Southern Highlands, Murrumbidgee, Alpine and Western regions.

“The NSW Government has heard the message that there needs to be greater protection for our best agricultural land from mining and coal seam gas proposals,” Mr Ayres said.

“We’re now delivering the most stringent protection of high-quality agricultural land and toughest coal seam gas controls in Australia.

“Labor did nothing on this issue for 16 years.

“It didn’t map or protect any agricultural land and to make matters worse then approved dozens of major mining proposals across NSW without planning for housing, infrastructure and community health.

“The Coalition is proposing a series of strategic regional land-use plans across regional NSW to far better manage the impacts of our important resources industry.”

Since March 2011, the Coalition government has announced a series of other measures to better control coal seam gas exploration, including:

  • Placing a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing or ‘fraccing’ pending the completion of an independent review by the NSW Chief Scientist (review to be released in April 2012)
  • Banning the use of BTEX chemicals as additives during drilling
  • Requiring groups of more than five exploration wells to go through a detailed planning assessment process following public consultation
  • Completing a State-wide audit of coal and coal seam gas licences to enable the NSW Government to consider comprehensive historical and technical data when considering licence renewal applications
  • Developing new Community Consultation Guidelines to ensure communities are both aware of and consulted on new licence applications
  • Committing to maintaining a policy of 25 per cent reduction of exploration licence area upon renewal

More details are available at


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Stuart Ayres - Member for Penrith

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