Farmers endorse PAC’s comments on ag land

NSW Farmers has wholeheartedly endorsed comments made recently by the Planning and Assessment Commission (PAC) that sensitive agricultural areas should be identified and ‘ruled off-limits’ from mining.

The comments were made by the PAC in its determination on the Drayton South project which it decided will not be allowed to be extended.

NSW Farmers also agreed with the PAC’s statement that greater clarity and planning certainty was needed in NSW.

Association President Derek Schoen said: “Another issue that farmers have which the PAC also highlighted was the weakness of the gateway process and the need for it to have the capacity to identify and prevent significant land use conflicts from progressing.”

“If the PAC can see the flaws in our current planning system then surely the government has to sit up and take note. Land use conflicts in this state are not going to go away until the government addresses them. The long term viability of communities and agricultural land are at the heart of the PAC’s recommendations and they should also be at the heart of government.

“Too many projects have been given the tick in this state without due consideration and although we are very happy that Drayton South extension has been knocked on the head, the fact is that it was not rejected due to any function of the state’s Strategic Regional Land Use Policy (SRLUP). 

“In this instance, the recommendation not to proceed was largely based on reputational issues. There are still many projects expected to go ahead which will see the closure of whole towns – whole communities.

“Despite recent policy reform work in this area there remains a persistence by government to put mining and the extractive industries and their interests ahead of people, communities and food and fibre producers.

“Recent reforms in the mining and CSG policy space will not deliver what has been promised to us by government.

“What we want to see is a properly functioning Strategic Regional Land Use Policy (SRLUP) – one that protects prime agricultural land.

“Clearly the SRLUP is failing. This is clearly illustrated in the Shenhua Watermark project and we expect this to be repeated on the KEPCO’s Bylong Coal Project.

“We urge the Premier and his government to stand by his comments – that the PAC decision should be respected and we look forward to seeing how government puts the PAC’s statement into action to protect communities and prime agricultural land.”

ends

7 December 2015 

Contact: Danica Leys

Phone: 1300 794 000

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