Wineries and farms put off limits from CSG in NSW
Source: The Australian, 3 October 2013
THE NSW government has moved to protect another one million hectares of prime agricultural land and declared hundreds of horse studs and vineyard "off-limits" to coal-seam gas mining activities, as it implements what it describes as the toughest industry control in the nation.
The O'Farrell government has ignored warnings of a looming gas supply crisis and rejected the pleading of the energy sector as it prepares to legislate its mooted ban on CSG drilling within 2km of residential areas.
In what NSW Resources Minister Brad Hazzard has declared the "toughest CSG controls in Australia", 2.8 million hectares of the state's most valuable agricultural land have been earmarked "strategic land" that will face new oversight, about one million hectares more than had previously been mapped.
CSG companies seeking to operate on that land will first be required to have their plans reviewed by a "gateway panel" consisting of six state-appointed groundwater, agricultural and mining experts.