NSW Nature Conservation Council’s CEO has welcomed the State Government’s move to honour CSG exclusion zone legislation.
NSW Nature Conservation Council’s CEO has welcomed the State Government’s move to honour CSG exclusion zone legislation. Claudia Baxter

Conservation boss concerned guard gate cannot be closed

THE State Government overhauled the planning system, but they saw no need to overhaul laws relating to CSG because they were already so heavily stacked in industry's favour.

This is the view of CEO of the NSW Nature Conservation Council's CEO, Pepe Clarke.

Mr Clarke welcomed the government's move to honour CSG exclusion zone legislation, on Thursday.

But he said the threat of CSG was still very real for large parts of the state and the Clarence Valley.

"The threat of CSG development is still very real for large parts of the state. At least 90% of NSW is still not protected," Mr Pepe said.

"Drinking water catchments are still not protected, neither are important natural assets like the Pilliga Forest, which is set to be carved up and polluted by gas development."

He also labelled the State Government's new "Gateway Process" as a flawed measure.

The government is holding the process up as a means through which CSG developments can be assessed by an independent panel, he said.

"It's a strange type of gateway which can't be shut," Mr Pepe said of the process, which can only stipulate conditions on CSG development, not block them altogether.

But NSW State Minister for Planning Brad Hazzard stood by the process.

"The gateway panel is an independent scientific assessment which must be addressed when a company decides to lodge a DA," Mr Hazzard said. "As an assessment, it doesn't refuse/approve applications which happens at the DA stage."



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