A 'small' step for green tape reform

THE economic benefits offered by mining projects in New South Wales have become a key consideration for the state’s environmental planning policy under new amendments.
A 'small' step for green tape reform A 'small' step for green tape reform A 'small' step for green tape reform A 'small' step for green tape reform A 'small' step for green tape reform

NSW Resources and Energy Minister Chris Hartcher.

Blair Price

These benefits will be measured under various factors including the job creation, regional community expenditure and state royalties on offer.

“The assessment of major mining projects has always been about balance and these amendments give extra clarity and guidance for decision makers,” NSW Resources and Energy Minister Chris Hartcher said.

“Potential environmental and other impacts will continue to be key factors in the assessment of mining projects, with a number of strict criteria imposed for issues like air quality, water impacts and noise.

“These criteria will act as non-discretionary standards that companies are expected to meet in order to avoid refusal due to local environmental or amenity impacts.

“But the significance of the resource itself must also be carefully considered and, following public consultation, the government has now provided detail on how this is to be measured.”

While green groups were not encouraged by the policy direction, industry lobby group NSW Minerals Council called it a sensible small step to restore confidence in the state.

“These changes are welcome but more needs to be done to encourage investment, not only in mining but across all business sectors,” NSWMC chief executive officer Stephen Galilee said.

“The NSW planning system is the state’s biggest roadblock to investment.

“After over two and a half years of review, the details of the new planning system must be settled quickly to deliver much-needed certainty.”

The industry group said mining companies spent $A12.8 billion in NSW during 2012-13, which included wages, community contributions and buying goods from more than 10,500 supplier businesses.