The Nature Conservation Council of NSW released the statement below on March 6.
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The draft Strategic Regional Land Use Plans released today will not deliver adequate protection for local communities, wildlife, natural areas and groundwater resources from the impacts of coal and coal seam gas exploration and mining, according to the Nature Conservation Council (NCC) of NSW.
“The NSW government’s draft land use plans for the Upper Hunter and New England North West will not meet the reasonable expectations of landholders and local communities threatened by mining and gas development,” NCC chief executive officer Pepe Clarke said.
“The Coalition promised in the lead-up to the state election it would find a balance between mining, farming and other industries in regions such as the Hunter and our North West but it has failed to deliver.
“These draft land use plans do not provide clear and certain protection for iconic natural areas, public lands and water supply catchments.
“The plans carefully map high conservation value areas, but then offer no clear legal means of ensuring their ongoing protection.
“The government has chosen to disregard constructive input from conservationists and other community stakeholders, delivering a result that strongly favours the interests of the mining and gas industry.
“The draft plans are flawed, and if urgent measures are not taken for their amendment, they will most likely provide a misguided model for other regions.
“During the two-month exhibition period, the community needs to send a strong signal to the NSW government that these plans must be substantially improved."
Read more of Green Left's extensive coverage of coal seam gas mining and the campaign against it.