Science based gas policy - a good sign

NSW Farmers Association is relieved the state government has committed to put sound science and upfront assessment at the forefront of its new gas plan.

The association’s President Fiona Simson said gas extraction and its impacts on agricultural land and water was an issue the association had been campaigning on for many years.
She said the association was pleased the government was supporting all 16 recommendations from the Chief Scientist’s report on CSG in NSW and eagerly awaited further details around its implementation.
“Our association is also pleased the government has plans to implement a new strategic release framework from 1 July 2015. This will include upfront assessment on all exploration licence areas plus an analysis on whether areas of the state are actually appropriate to be explored in the first place.
“The strategic release framework has the potential to deliver what NSW Farmers has been advocating on for some time – that is a proper, upfront assessment of the risks associated with any land areas being released for exploration and production.
“It will be important however that the government commits the necessary resources to ensure that this process is carried out in a full and proper manner.”
The association also welcomed the state government’s consideration of farmers and their communities and that they would be able to share in the benefits of gas development in NSW.

Ms Simson said that whilst compensation was not a panacea, it was vital those people who hosted extractive industries also share in the rewards.

“No amount of compensation can ever make up for permanent damage to our agricultural land and water,” she said.
NSW Farmers and its members would be watching the development of the strategic framework carefully and would engage fully in discussions with government.
Some areas of NSW should not be put at risk by any extractive industries and the association planned to ensure the new framework addressed this issue.
Ms Simson said the plan must also make the development of an environmental data repository in combination with appropriate ‘trigger response’ plans a priority.

“Our association will be calling on the government to ensure that the same principles adopted here for the gas industry are also applied to the mining industry.
“Existing licences and developments approved under the current regime remain a hurdle for the government. It is important that further activities only be approved on these sites if they satisfy the new data collection monitoring and transparency requirements.
“NSW Farmers will be holding the government to account on its implementation timeline and its commitments made today,” Ms Simson concluded.

 13 November 2014



Contact: Adair Moar

Phone: 1300 794 000

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