Shenhua commitment to tougher planning rules only a handshake agreement


9 May 2011

Greens MP and mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham has forced an admission today from the Coalition Government that Shenhua’s ‘commitment’ to abide by the Strategic Regional Landuse Policy is nothing more than a ‘handshake’ agreement.

Mr Buckingham said, “Handshake agreements are no way to manage the state’s resources and important regional planning. If Shenhua and the Government are committed to this agreement, it should be put in writing.”

The Government Leader of the House in the Legislative Council and former Primary Industry Shadow Minister Duncan Gay stated in question time today, “The agreement was a verbal agreement, it was a gentlemen’s agreement… I asked, and they accepted”.

The Minister also revealed that the Shenhua Watermark projects would be assessed under Part 3a, saying: “They’re part of the Part3a. But they’ve agreed to have the strategic lands part as part of theirs as well.”

“It is unclear how part 3a and the Regional Strategic Land Use Policy will interact. There are few details available on how strategic agricultural land will be defined and how Regional Strategic Plans will impact on current development applications,” said Mr Buckingham.

“The Liverpool Plains community has a right to be concerned that the company will simply plough ahead based on the old controversial Part3a process with only a handshake agreement on the Land Use Policy, with no enforcement mechanisms.

“We already know that Shenhua have very recently advertised for local representatives to form a Part3a Environmental Assessment Community Reference Group.

“This raises more issues about whether Part3a is really dead at all. My concern is that Part3a provisions will be kept in place for mining and extractive industries despite continued assurances by the Coalition that Part3a would be abolished.”

Contact: Max Phillips 9230 2202  or  0419 444 916


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