By Courtney Pearson
August 13, 2015
HUNDREDS of people gathered in Newcastle in late July to show support for mining in the Hunter Valley.
The rally coincided with a visit by NSW Planning minister Rob Stokes, who was there to discuss proposed changes to the planning system.
The NSW Planning and Environment Department is undergoing a process to change mining regulation is NSW, which could put jobs at risk.
Proposed amendments to the Mining State Environmental Planning Policy would require decision-makers to consider the likely environmental, social and economic impacts of a mining development, which could affect the future of a number of developments.
The new guidelines would include independent audit guidelines; web-based reporting guidelines; annual review guidelines; water regulation and policy; and planning agreement guidelines.
“The Planning minister is putting Hunter jobs at risk by rushing through rule changes that will remove the requirement for regional and statewide economic factors to be considered in the assessment of mining projects,” NSW Minerals Council chief executive Stephen Galilee said.
“This would mean the economic benefits mining brings to the Hunter region, including mining jobs and the opportunities for small businesses, would no longer be required to be considered when mining projects are assessed.”
The Hunter Valley’s mining industry directly employs more than 11,000 people and indirectly employs thousands more.
“The protection of the environment and the promotion of the social and economic welfare of the community have always been objects of planning legislation,” Mr Stokes said.
“The careful deliberation of environmental, economic and social issues is fundamental to good planning.”