Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Mining industry and New South Wales: a warning to act before 28 June 2013

In a decade’s time, the Queensland centre of Dalby will be unrecognisable as a farming community, according to Darling Downs lawyer Peter Shannon.

Mr Shannon, Shine Lawyers, who hails from Dalby, said the mining industry was taking over the district at such a rate that the scale of agriculture the regions are known for may not survive the next 10 years.
One of the only benefits to be had from this was that NSW producers could hopefully learn from what has happened to Queensland to prevent coal and coal seam gas (CSG) mining taking over their prime agricultural land.
“It’s an inevitability that wherever there is coal in NSW, there is also good farming land,” said Mr Shannon, who was in Moree last week to talk to growers at the Australian Cotton Trade Show.
“The mining industry will eventually take over agriculture if the agricultural industry doesn’t look after itself, and it’s up to the landholders themselves to make sure their industry is looked after.
“Unfortunately you get more consumer protection buying a fridge in Queensland than you do when entering an agreement with a mining company and if the legal fees available to landholders are capped then it will be impossible for those landholders to have a fair fight…..
“Mining is something that’s usually remote to everyone until it’s knocking on their door and while the law states that a landholder is not allowed to be worse off after signing an agreement with a mining company, you can promise the landholder won’t be better off, while the mining company and government are making fortunes.”…..

Cotton Australia mining and CSG policy officer Sahil Prasad said one of the key changes proposed in the review of the NSW Planning system was the need for developments to be “sustainable” rather than “ecologically sustainable” – a move he said which “essentially negates the right to protect the environment and the important agricultural land around a mining project”.
“Submissions for the review of the system are due on June 28 and I strongly suggest landholders take a good look at this and make sure it’s going to work for them.” [my bolding]

This is the document in question: White Paper – A New Planning System for NSW. Exhibition period ends on 28 June 2013. Submissions may be lodged online.

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