Sunday, 20 March 2016

Greens Candidate For Cowper - "Implications Draft North Coast Plan by NSW Government Department of Planning and Environment"

Media Release from Carol Vernon, Greens candidate for Cowper:

Implications Draft North Coast Plan by NSW Government Department of Planning and Environment
March 10, 2016
Julie Lyford, Lyne, and Carol Vernon, Cowper, Greens candidates on the Mid North Coast, are united in their concerns for aspects of the recently released Draft North Coast Regional Plan.
"Cobbled together, more for political reasons than for genuine planning reasons, this ‘draft plan’ is already out-dated and full of flaws. Yet it may be utilised by a power-hungry Baird-Grant government to bully local councils into planning decisions that will have life changing impacts on residents,” they said.
“The plan covers a wide ranging area of the state and includes lower mid north coast and mid north coast locations.
‘The Draft North Coast Regional Plan (Draft Plan) applies to 13 councils - Tweed, Byron, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley, Kyogle, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Bellingen, Nambucca, Kempsey, Port Macquarie–Hastings and Greater Taree.’
“When considering the locations and councils in this area, it is difficult to see how a uniform approach to planning for the future can be applied. While the plan has items of merit, other items are cause for concern.
"The first goal in the plan outlines five comprehensive directions related to the natural environment and productive landscapes. Four of the 'directions' talk about protection of environment, productive farmland and water catchments and adapting for climate change, while the fifth talks about 'delivering economic growth through access to mineral and energy resources.' One wonders what strong safeguards around this last 'direction' will deliver the 'protections' outlined in the previous four.”
‘The North Coast also includes areas of the Clarence-Moreton Basin, which has potential coal seam gas resources that may be able to support the development and growth of new industries and provide economic benefits for the region.’ P 28
 “Although the plan includes maps showing where gas exploration licences have been bought back there is no statement committing the government to a ban on the future exploration and drilling for coal seam gas in the same areas, or elsewhere.”
‘The NSW Department of Industry is mapping coal and coal seam gas resources in the region.’  P 31
“It is tremendously concerning that the Baird-Grant government obviously continues to plan for a coal seam gas and coal industry on the mid north and north coast.
"Community action in recent years, from Gloucester to Bentley, has overwhelmingly demonstrated that there is no social licence for unconventional gas and destructive mining activity in the area.
“While it is pleasing that renewable energy resources have been at least noted, there are no listed plans to really develop and exploit their use, especially as a source of employment.
“Are the listed planning requirements, to address environmental preservation, sea level rise and tidal surges mandatory? We hope so.
“But how much of the plan will be mandated by Sydney based planners? Is the Baird-Grant government ‘Fit for the Future’ approach linked to this plan? Will local councils lose even more planning autonomy?
“Some material is already dated, for example, the siting of some Pacific Highway service facility locations and much is omitted, such as the planning for new rail routes.
“The improved Pacific Highway is already fast filling with traffic. Before long it will present like the horrific, crowded, multiple lane approaches to Brisbane city. We should already be considering freight alternatives, however, a heavy emphasis on road freight is to be expected from the coalition state and federal governments. Pacific Highway freight hubs are discussed but connections to rail freight are obviously not anticipated.  Rail freight and rail corridors are almost non-existent in this plan.
“The plan concentrates on land use because of its origin but a plan that ignores our digital future and is so wedded to fossil fuel resource development and road transport is already an anachronism.”

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