Proposed Mining SEPP changes not enough

August 13, 2013

The NSW minerals industry supports the intent of the NSW Government’s proposed amendments to the Mining SEPP, but has called for further changes to ensure the intent of the revised SEPP is met.

“The proposed changes are a sensible small step, but further changes are needed to deliver on the NSW Government’s publicly declared intent to ‘restore investor confidence’,” NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said today.

Mr Galilee welcomed the more consistent application of the government’s existing assessment criteria for air quality, noise, blasting, and aquifer interference through the SEPP amendments.

“The environmental criteria outlined in the SEPP are consistent with existing rigorous NSW Government policy standards and should provide the community and miners with more certainty,” he said.

“However further SEPP changes are needed, including ensuring the changes cover outstanding Part 3A applications, and also cover proposed modifications of existing projects.

There is strong community support for making economic and jobs benefits a priority in the assessment of mining projects.

A recent research survey of over 1700 people in NSW conducted by ReachTEL found that 78 percent of respondents believe jobs should be the ‘highest priority’ or a ‘high priority’ when major projects like mines are assessed. 79 per cent of those surveyed also agreed that mining was important to a strong economic future for NSW, compared to just 13 per cent who felt mining was not important at all.

“These very strong results show that most people understand the importance of major projects like mines for jobs, and also place a high value on the jobs these projects generate,” Mr Galilee said.

“The results of this survey also indicate the SEPP changes proposed by the NSW Government move project assessment guidelines more closely towards community expectations.

“The NSW planning system is the State’s biggest roadblock to investment. The SEPP changes are a small improvement but more needs to be done to further protect jobs and investment.”

The additional SEPP changes needed to protect jobs and deliver on the Government’s publicly stated intention to improve to investor confidence are outlined in the NSW Minerals Council’s submission lodged with the Department of Planning and Infrastructure and available here.

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