Stricter controls imposed on CSG near residential areas

The New South Wales government has introduced stricter controls on the activities of coal seam gas (CSG) companies.

It has expanded exclusion zones which limit CSG operations close to residential areas.

There will be an additional level of scrutiny applied to potential CSG projects within the 2.8 million hectares of land identified as the state’s most valuable farming land.

The so called Gateway process examines the impact of resource development on agriculture and water.

The regions included are the Central West; Mid and Far North Coast, Southern Highlands, Western, South Coast and Illawarra.

Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson says the reforms ensure the integrity of important agricultural land.

“When the NSW Government released its Aquifer Interference Policy last September, it ensured this State put in place the best groundwater protection framework of any jurisdiction in Australia,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“Today’s announcement takes the NSW Government one step further towards balancing the responsible growth of the mining and resource industries with the needs of primary industries and communities.”

The reforms identify residential villages which weren’t previously protected. And it identifies future growth areas in 56 council areas across NSW.

Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Brad Hazzard said the Government was pleased to put in place the first stage of CSG exclusion zones.

“We always said that we would also examine the exclusion zones in future proposed residential areas – along with rural residential areas which could be regarded as villages – and are now seeking feedback on this,” Hazzard said.

“Importantly, however, the Government has also made it clear that, now we’ve defined these sensitive areas, we will fully support mining proposals which are in the right places and pass our rigorous and independent assessment system.”

Alistair Walsh

Alistair Walsh

Deutsche Welle online reporter

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