Strict new rules for CSG in NSW

strictTHE NSW Government has finalised CSG exclusion zones and safeguards across 5.3 million hectares of residential, industrial and agricultural land across the state.
Reforms announced last month would see 2.7Mha of residential land, critical industry clusters and future growth areas declared exclusion zones, banning new CSG activity within a 2km buffer.
Resource proposals for another 2.8Mha of farming land will be put through an independent scientific review process to prevent impacts on water or land.
Viticulture and equine land in the Upper Hunter region has also been declared critical industry clusters, stopping new CSG developments from going ahead and erecting barriers for mining proposals.
Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner said the exclusion zones were now in force for 95 per cent of the state’s dwellings covered by current petroleum licenses.
“Tough regulations are also now in place for NSW’s most valuable agricultural land,” he said.
“We’ve consulted with the community to identify millions of hectares of biophysical strategic agricultural land and critical industry clusters and [now] we have acted to ensure that this important land is formally recognised and safeguarded.
“The NSW government has delivered the strictest regulations around CSG activity in the country.”
The announcement has generated heat from both sides of the CSG debate, with industry bodies accusing the NSW Government of damaging business, and environmentalists calling for restrictions to go further.
Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association chief operating officer Eastern region Paul Fennelly said the measures put a stranglehold on natural gas development, business investment, job creation, regional growth and small business opportunities.
“The state’s failure to allow development of its gas reserves means NSW now faces unnecessary energy risks,” he said.
“The government should urgently reconsider blanket exclusion of vast tracts of land from gas development.”
Nature Conservation Council of NSW campaigns director Kate Smolski said almost 75 Mha of the state was still open to CSG development, putting water resources and sensitive environmental areas at risk.
“For residents concerned about CSG development in urban areas, the policy represents a victory for common sense, but for a government that promised real change on mining and gas regulation, much unfinished business remains,” she said.
“The threat of CSG development is still very real for more than 90 per cent of NSW.”