Protection is not airtight
FARMERS and conservationists have scoffed at the NSW Government's draft policy to protect farmland waterways from the effects of coal-seam gas (CSG) mining.
The government claims it will protect agricultural land and water sources with a raft of draft policies it released on Tuesday.
In addition to a draft regional land-use policy, the government has also released a draft aquifer interference policy and a draft code of practice for coal-seam gas miners.
Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis, said the draft policies would allow science to decide if CSG mining was allowed.
"That's what moved us to do the strategic land-use mapping," he said.
The NSW Farmers Association is critical of the aquifer interference policy.
"This draft policy released today could allow invasive activities such as fracking and test pilot production of coal-seam gas to continue - on strategic agricultural land without the need for an aquifer interference approval," association president Fiona Simson said yesterday.
Conservationists are sceptical.
"These draft land-use plans do not provide clear and certain protection for iconic natural areas, public lands and water supply catchments," said the CEO of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, Pepe Clarke.