NSW Minerals Council

The New South Wales state government has released changes to the state’s planning law which, if passed, will grant big mining companies more power and reduce communities and councils’ already limited rights of appeal.

The government says the changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (EP&A Act) 1979, released on January 9, are primarily about promoting “confidence” in the state’s planning system.

The NSW Minerals Council chief executive Stephen Galilee is keen on new anti-protest laws in NSW. He claims to be concerned about the safety of the workers as well as the protesters “illegally accessing mine sites”.

Mining and Energy Minister Antony Roberts has been a little more blunt: he says the new law is aimed at better enforcing the protection of private property and “lawful business activity”.

Most, however, can see through the spin.

About 40 protesters gathered outside NSW state parliament on June 17 to oppose the NSW Minerals Council’s "Beyond the Rocks Conference" being held in partnership with the Baird state government.

They called for the council, representing multinational corporations such as Whitehaven Coal and Rio Tinto, to support a transition away from the destructive coal export industry.

Protesters carried banners and placards with message such as "Minerals Council Conference: 1. Lies about coal. 2. Lies about CSG. 3. Lunch."

The rally was called by Front Line Action on Coal.

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