Here we go again, another day and yet another blot on the copybook of the O’Farrell state government.
After a week during which Education Minister Adrian Piccoli ripped $1.7billion out of education funding, the government is rightly being accused of breaking an election promise on coal seam gas mining.
The government sullied its long-awaited Strategic Regional Land Use Policy to protect the environment, agricultural land and NSW communities, by offering to renew 22 coal seam gas exploration licences including a large swathe of the Illawarra and the Sydney water catchment, on the very same day the policy was released.
For the Illawarra and the thousands of people who mobilised to take part in a peaceful protest against CSG mining in the region, it was a bitter blow and a betrayal of the government’s promise to ban exploration and mining in the drinking water catchment.
Premier O’Farrell and his Energy Minister Chris Hartcher are deluding themselves if they think the anger emanating from environmentalists, landowners and mining companies is evidence they got the policy right.
They didn’t and it could easily be seen as nothing more than putting coal seam mining dollars ahead of our most pristine land.