Taking CSG concerns to the capital

CALLS for federal intervention into NSW coal seam gas regulation have been supported by a Liverpool Plains farming group.

The Caroona Coal Action Group says the Commonwealth should urgently intervene after the NSW government failed to deliver any genuine policy improvements.

It has responded to claims made by the independent member for New England Tony Windsor who said the NSW government was not serious about the issue. 

The group said the government must be forced into action after coming to office nearly two years ago and promising wide-ranging reforms to protect water and agriculture from mining impacts.

Caroona Coal Action Group spokesman Tim Duddy said it was deeply disappointing that, despite repeated promises made before the 2011 election, the O’Farrell government had demonstrated its pledges were hollow. 

“To date all we have seen is a two-year confidence trick where policy after policy to protect natural resources has been announced with great fanfare but, when the veil is removed, the practical effect of them is nil,” Mr Duddy said.

He was referring to the Strategic Regional Land Use Policy’s gateway process, aquifer interference policy and land mapping.

He said each had failed to provide genuine long-term protections for prime agricultural lands.

Mr Duddy said federal government intervention was needed to protect the lands and precious water systems before they were lost to future 

generations.

“We call upon Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke to immediately amend the Howard government’s initiative, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, to recognise significant water resources that are under threat from mining and extractive industries,” he said.

“Intervention by the Commonwealth under the Act will ensure that mining is only carried out in areas where it does not destroy our nation’s agriculture and the irreplaceable underground water systems that have been millions of years in the making.”

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