Land use and resources projects in the Upper Hunter and New
England areas are under the microscope with the NSW
Government's release of new draft plans and guidance on
high-quality agricultural land, water, and mining and coal seam gas
The NSW Government's Strategic Regional Land Use Policy is
an attempt to balance the needs of the mining, petroleum and
agricultural sectors, and those of the wider community. To help
implement it, the Government has released for comment:
Draft Upper Hunter Strategic Regional Land Use Plan;
Draft New England North West Strategic Regional Land Use
Draft NSW Aquifer Interference Policy;
Draft Code of Practice for Coal Seam Gas Exploration;
Agricultural Impact Statement Guideline; and
Guideline for Community Consultation Regarding
According to Premier Barry O'Farrell, "major mining and
coal seam gas proposals on [high-quality agricultural] land will
only be able to be considered if they are able to meet strict
criteria as assessed by an independent panel of experts that will
operate at arm's length from government."
The draft plans provide for this "Gateway" assessment
process. The Gateway process would apply to major mining and coal
seam gas production proposals on, or within 2km, of mapped
strategic agricultural land before those proposals even get to the
development application stage.
Mapping in the Upper Hunter and the New England North West
identified over 1.3 million hectares of land as strategic
The draft plans set out actions to minimise the effects of
mining and coal seam gas projects on air quality, noise and
community health, particularly dust management, and also provide
frameworks for the infrastructure, housing and community services
which would be needed to support expected growth in the resources
The first tranche of plans and guidance is open for public
comment until Thursday 3 May 2012.
Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide
commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon
as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular
transactions or on matters of interest arising from this bulletin.
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The Council announced planning policies to encourage more inner suburban retirement village and aged care development.
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