Prior to election, Barry O'Farrell guaranteed to ban mining in our water catchments
Before the state election that brought him to power, Barry O’Farrell promised:
The next Liberal/National Government will ensure that mining cannot occur…in any water catchment area, and will ensure that mining leases and mining exploration permits reflect that common sense; no ifs, no buts, a guarantee.” See video
Once premier, Barry O’Farrell went on to tell Alan Jones:
I don’t intend to allow — particularly after the drought we went through over a decade — mining or any other activity to threaten water resources.” Hear audio
Indeed, the current NSW Government said its Strategic Regional Land Use Policy would protect water.
However, the policy — released in September 2012 — failed to ban CSG development in drinking water catchments. The Government did not even classify drinking water catchments as land of strategic importance, and impacts on aquifers became “information to be considered” in the approval process.
In fact, on the same day the policy was released, the government lifted the freeze on fracking and offered to renew 22 CSG exploration licences [PDF] in NSW across 5 million hectares.
The NSW government has removed all public health experts from the board of the Sydney Catchment Authority
In December 2012 the NSW Minister for Primary Industries replaced the entire Board of the SCA. The new chairperson is a former director of two of Australia’s largest mining companies, and for the first time in its history there is no public health expert on the SCA Board.