Under pressure from big business and the mining industry, federal and state governments have recently announced an aggressive plan to wind back essential environmental protection laws. This plan, if it goes ahead, will remove essential federal protection for threatened species and accelerate mining and coal seam gas development in our forests, woodlands and rural landscapes. These threats have very real implications for New South Wales as the state moves through its planning review process.
Handing environmental assessment powers to the states will make it more difficult to ensure state planning laws stand up to heavy pressure from industry and developers. The federal government must not walk away from its environmental responsibilities and the NSW government must restore balance, integrity and legitimacy into the NSW planning process. We need an improved regime for assessing major public infrastructure, with early engagement and input from local communities, to improve the decision-making process and local community acceptance of proposals.