Greens call on government to halt planning decisions during COVID-19

Today the Greens are calling for a moratorium on all planning decisions, including the approval of all gas and mining projects, until the government puts in place a comprehensive plan for community consultation during the COVID-19 crisis.

Abigail Boyd MP, Greens NSW Spokesperson for Mining, Coal & Gas says:

“While we are focused on protecting ourselves from COVID-19 and its social and economic fallout, the planning process for projects like the Narrabri coal seam gas proposal march on.

“Santos’ project will drill 850 wells over the Great Artesian Basin recharge area and have a lasting impact on farmland and ecologically sensitive land.

“The current crisis must not be used as an excuse to rubber stamp controversial mining and gas projects such as these.

“The Greens are calling on the NSW Government to place a moratorium on all planning decisions, including mining and gas approvals, until a plan is developed to allow meaningful community consultation.

“Critical consultation processes, like public meetings, drop-in sessions, public exhibition of documents, and community engagement simply can’t happen during COVID-19.

“All planning approvals must be paused until the Government has a comprehensive plan for community consultation that includes increased exhibition time, online town halls, and reliable access to documentation.”

“Minister Stokes already has the power under the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act to regulate to strengthen community consultation during this crisis. We call on him to do so without delay.”

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