A computer glitch has left residents confused as to whether they will get a say on the Vickery Mine Extension or Narrabri Gas Project.
With COVID-19 making traditional public meetings unsafe, both hearings will be held online.
But the process has already run into technical trouble, with residents registering to have their say on the two projects incorrectly receiving an error message instead of a confirmation email.
Lock the Gate Alliance, which opposes both projects, said the bug will reduce the number of people who will get a chance to have their say.
NSW coordinator Georgina Woods said the computer bug is "particularly worrying given many of the people who will be impacted by these projects are elderly and lack computer literacy, or live in remote areas where internet service is poor.
"There is no need for haste and the public would have a lot more access to, and confidence in the process if it were conducted in person."
The NSW Independent Planning Commission confirmed yesterday that "a very small number of people" have incorrectly received an error message when submitting an online form.
A spokesperson for the IPC said the Commission is receiving information via the form, but the bug relates to an automated confirmation email, which is occasionally failing to send.
They rejected concerns that the bug might not be the last for the online process.
"Speakers at both public hearings will present to the Commission via videoconference or using their phone," they said.
"This technology was successfully tested on the recent Brandy Hill Quarry case with 18 people participating in the electronic Public Meeting for that matter."
They said residents frustrated with the process could use a PDF version of the registration form instead of the online form.
The IPC will also book Narrabri's Crossing Theatre for local residents to be heard through a potentially more reliable video link.
Registration to speak at the Vickery Mine public hearing closed last week, with 76 people registered to speak over two days next week. People can register to speak at the Narrabri Gas Project public hearing until July 10.