The State government’s election commitment to place sensitive areas of the state off limits to mining and gas is at risk, with the mining and gas industry strongly opposing protection of high conservation value areas and strategic agricultural land, according to the Nature Conservation Council of NSW.
“Conservationists and farmers have entered discussions in good faith, willing to find a balanced solution to land use conflict, but the mining and gas industries have refused to concede a single square inch of the state,” Chief Executive Officer Pepe Clarke said today.
“In the lead up to the election, the Government promised to protect critical environmental and agricultural assets by placing sensitive areas off limits to mining and gas development.
“This commitment is a critical element of the reforms needed to resolve land use conflict and protect farmland, natural areas and water resources.
“The position adopted by industry ignores legitimate public concerns about the very real impacts of mining and gas development on local communities, public health and drinking water supplies.
“Iconic natural areas like the Pilliga Forest and the Gardens of Stone are under threat from mining and gas expansion. It is essential that the Government takes real action to protect these unique wild places and their native wildlife.
“This will be a true test of the O’Farrell government: will it honour its election pledge by placing strategic areas off limits mining and gas or will it bow to pressure from industry?
“Local communities threatened by the unprecedented expansion of the mining and gas industry will be following this reform process closely, and will hold government and industry accountable for their words and actions,” Mr Clarke said.