More CSG restrictions needed on prime agricultural land
NSW FARMERS has joined calls by the Greens and conservation groups for the NSW Government to extend CSG restrictions to prime agricultural land.
While the state government is hailing its CSG regulations as the toughest in the country, the peak state farming body is disappointed.
President Fiona Simson said the government had ignored thousands of submissions lobbying for changes to the Strategic Regional Land Use Policy (SLRUP) to give farmers more security.
"This government has chosen to ignore all feedback and deliver effectively the same Gateway Process that was offered up initially for public comment," Ms Simson said.
NSW Farmers' main concerns revolve around the strength of the Gateway Panel - used to review CSG projects on prime farmland.
Under the system, the panel does not have the power to refuse projects they deem a risk.
"In essence, there is no "gate" in the Gateway and no ability for projects to be denied a Gateway certificate," Ms Simson said.
"If the panel is not empowered to recommend that a particular project should not proceed, their expertise and experience are not being fully utilised.
"This Government cannot continue to blame the past and is now 100% responsible for the protection of agricultural land and water where projects are allowed to go ahead."
The Nature Conservation Council has similarly criticised the Gateway Process as inadequate.
Spokeswoman Kate Smolski said the process was "flawed".
"The gateway is permanently propped open, leaving productive agricultural land exposed to mining and gas development," she said.