World first environment partnership to improve NSW fisheries

In a world first, a diverse group of organisations with an interest in the long-term future of fishing in NSW has come together for one purpose: to help create more fish through improving the health of fish habitat.

Working together for healthy fish habitat is the vision of the NSW Fish Habitat Partnership, which is being formally launched today*.

“We are united by our common interest in looking after and improving the ecosystems that support the fish,” said Mr Mark Bulley, Independent Chair of the Partnership.

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Cobbora open-cut coal mine would spell disaster for endangered species

The Nature Conservation Council of NSW has called on the Planning Assessment Commission to recommend the Cobbora open-cut coal mine proposal be refused because of the unacceptable impacts it would have on biodiversity.

The PAC heard evidence in Dunedoo today of the significant harm this project would have on wildlife, water resources and local communities if it were to be built.

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Peak environment group calls for a halt to CSG exploration

The Nature Conservation Council has renewed calls for an end to coal seam gas exploration in New South Wales after it was revealed Santos’ coal seam gas project in the Pilliga contaminated an aquifer with uranium at levels 20 times higher than safe drinking water guidelines. [1]

“This is proof positive that the coal seam gas industry pollutes vital groundwater and poses an unacceptable environmental risk,” NCC Chief Executive Officer Pepe Clarke said.

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Marine parks under threat during Parks Week

The state’s marine life has not been invited to the party to celebrate Parks Week (March 3-9) in New South Wales.

Instead, the O’Farrell government is considering revoking high-level protections for some of the most important fish nurseries and marine conservation areas left in the state.

In March 2013, the government announced an amnesty on illegal fishing from the shore in many marine sanctuaries.

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Leaked document shows T4 coal port assessment a sham

Approval documents complete with consent conditions for the proposed 4th coal terminal in Newcastle (T4) have been leaked from the NSW Planning Department well before the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) has even been convened to assess the project. [1]

“This leaked approval report casts doubt over the entire PAC system. For the T4 project the commission appears to be nothing more than a rubber stamp,” said Hunter Community Environment Centre spokesperson Dr John Mackenzie.

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Community opposes to deliver developers’ agenda on planning reform

The community will vigorously oppose any attempts by the NSW Government to sidestep parliament and impose damaging changes to the planning system through non-legislative means, the Nature Conservation Council said today.

Planning Minister Brad Hazzard has announced the government will pursue its developer-driven reform agenda "through existing laws” [1], rather than accept extensive improvements to the Planning Bill 2013 made by Opposition and cross-bench members in the Legislative Council.

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Wallarah 2 mine recommendation should be revoked

The Nature Conservation Council of NSW has called on the Department of Planning to revoke its recommendation to approve the Wallarah 2 longwall coal mine following revelations in state parliament yesterday that raise serious probity issues.

The Sydney Morning Herald today reports that Premier Barry O’Farrell: “dropped in on a meeting attended by Liberal identity Nick Di Girolamo and former resources minister Chris Hartcher, whose relationship is being examined as part of a major corruption inquiry.” [1]

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NSW weed report a game changer

Environment groups have welcomed the draft report released today by the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) into weed management as a ‘game changer’ in helping to rein in one of the state’s worst and most difficult environmental threats.

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Pilliga project gets in-principle support, pre-empting environmental assessments

The Nature Conservation Council has condemned the NSW Government’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with gas giant Santos to fast-track the industrialisation of the Pilliga forest for coal seam gas production. [1]

“Nationals Leader Andrew Stoner has betrayed farmers in the state’s north-west by hastening the development of a gas field that poses serious risks to water quantity and quality,” Campaigns Director Kate Smolski said.

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Cobbora coal mine would be devastating for farming communities, water security and wildlife

The revised Cobbora open-cut coal mine proposal poses significant threats to local farmland, water resources and wildlife, according to the Nature Conservation Council of NSW.

NCC Campaigns Director Kate Smolski said she was surprised and dismayed that the Department of Planning found no social, environmental or economic grounds preventing the Cobbora open-cut coal mine proceeding. [1] Final power to approve the project now rests with the Planning Assessment Commission.

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