The Baird Government has built a strong reputation for listening to the people of NSW and taking action where action needs to be taken. The latest and most important example of this was the Government’s decision to do everything it could to protect the unique concentration of volcanic and biophysical strategic agricultural land (BSAL) soils that are known as the Liverpool Plains.
Strong and credible arguments put to the Government and to Premier Baird, during his visits to the New England region, have caused the Government to take a close look at why a mine had been granted approval to explore for coal on some of the most valuable and fertile agricultural land in the State.
During its time in Government, the ALP granted mining exploration licences in areas of such unique agricultural value that approval to mine could never be justified.
Under this Government there have been transformational improvements to the policy settings, assessment guidance, and regulation for major developments to make sure community views and opinions on land use conflict are taken into consideration and the situation under Labor can never happen again.
Following negotiations with the Government, BHP has relinquished its current exploration licence and agreed to walk away from its proposed Caroona Mine operations. Negotiations have also commenced with Shenhua to secure the excise of the parts of its mining title that encroached onto the strategic agricultural land of the Liverpool Plains.
This is a welcome announcement that shows this Government is listening to its major stakeholders, the people of NSW, and taking action to protect that which cannot be replaced.