Critics blast government's CSG policy

Opponents  of coal seam gas exploration have labelled the NSW government's long-awaited Strategic Regional Land Use Policy a "disaster".

The policy includes 27 measures the O'Farrell government says will balance the needs of miners and coal seam gas developers, with agriculture, conservation and tourism.

Stop Coal Seam Gas Illawarra spokeswoman Jess Moore said the policy was a disaster and amounted to a broken election promise.

"The government promised to create no-go zones to protect water, agriculture and the environment from CSG," she said.

"This policy breaks this promise. No part of NSW - not the land where food is grown, not our water catchments - is off limits to CSG development."

The policy lays out a set of regulations for mining and coal seam gas proposals, including the need to go through a new independent assessment of their potential impact.

A Land and Water Commissioner will be appointed to act on behalf of landholders and farmers.

An Aquifer Interference Policy will now apply statewide, rather than just to the Strategic Agricultural Land identified in the draft plan and a new code of practice for the CSG industry will also be put in place.

However, farmers and environmentalists have been angered that like the draft plan, the final land policy does not quarantine agricultural land from mining or CSG exploration.

NSW Planning Minister Brad Hazzard said the policy would not provide a "ring fence" around agricultural land, but instead provide a balance between protecting farmland and allowing resource development.

"The net result of this policy will be protection of agriculture and of strategic agricultural land for the first time in over 200 years," Mr Hazzard said.

"But at the same time we'll be able to access taxpayers' resources that sit below the ground," Mr Hazzard added.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop