Coal seam gas SEPP has giant loophole and leaves out agriculture
21 March 2013
The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham today welcomed elements of the coal seam gas exclusion zone State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP), but expressed concern that agriculture was still unprotected and that a potential loophole had been created that allows local councils to opt out of exclusion zones.
“Allowing local councils to opt out of the SEPP is a highly unusual step and adds a loophole that may allow coal seam gas in these areas and expose local Councils to corruption risks and pressure from powerful mining interests,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.
“While urban areas and some vineyards and thoroughbred breeders are partially protected by this SEPP, all other land uses are not protected from the risk of coal seam gas mining.
“The SEPP should apply state-wide so that all citizens enjoy the same protection. Allowing local councils to opt out of a SEPP is a giant loophole ripe for exploitation by a ruthless industry.
“The Greens are very concerned that multi-billion dollar oil companies will be able to exert influence on local councils and open the door to coal seam gas mining in areas that would normally be excluded by this SEPP.
“Local councils struggling to provide infrastructure and services may be susceptible to industry offers of assistance, voluntary planning agreements, or other incentives in return for the council exempting areas from the SEPP to allow coal seam gas mining.
“Section 9A (2) and (3) should be deleted from the SEPP.
“The Greens encourage the community to lodge submissions and call for the loophole to be deleted.”
Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916