Berejiklian guts protections for clean drinking water for Sydney
MEDIA RELEASE – 10 October 2017
NSW Greens resources spokesman Jeremy Buckingham warned that the Berejiklian Government was gutting protections for the quality of Sydney’s drinking water with legislation introduced into parliament today ditching the ‘neutral and beneficial’ test for all types of development that are an extension to existing developments in the entire catchment area. The Sydney Drinking Water Catchment extends from the Snowy Mountains to Lithgow and from Crookwell to the Illawarra.
The Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Sydney’s Drinking Water Catchment) Bill 2011 has two parts. Schedule 1 validates the development consent for the Springvale coal mine (that the Court of Appeal found was invalid because it polluted the water catchment). Schedule 2 ditches the test that extensions to existing developments (not just mines) must be either ‘neutral or beneficial’ for water quality in the catchment.
Jeremy Buckingham NSW Greens energy and resources spokesman said:
“The Berejiklian Government is using the confected crisis of Mt Piper power station’s coal supply to sneak through laws that gut protections for the quality of Sydney’s drinking water supply.
“The legislation goes far beyond the issue of the Springvale coal mine and allows any extensions to existing developments in the whole Sydney Drinking Water Catchment to avoid the ‘neutral or beneficial’ test designed to improve the quality of Sydney’s drinking water.
“The Greens agree with the Court of Appeal that the ‘neutral or beneficial’ test should mean that any development in the catchment area should not pollute Sydney’s drinking water.
“The Sydney Drinking Water Catchment is a huge area of NSW, stretching from the Snowy Mountains to the Blue Mountains, from Crookwell to the Illawarra. This change will apply to all types of existing developments, whether they are a mine, a piggery, an abattoir, a chicken farm, or a housing development.
“A perverse outcome of the legislation is that it will penalise new environmentally sensitive development over older more polluting developments. New developments will be held to a much higher standard than the extension of existing developments.
“It freezes in time poor levels of pollution control at the expense of Sydney’s drinking water quality. It guts the principle that development in the catchment area should be either neutral or beneficial for water quality.”