UPPER Hunter MP Michael Johnsen has been calling for changes to the state's planning system for some time now.
So, he's keen to back the NSW Minerals Council, which launched a public advertising campaign on Tuesday to protect jobs and the economy in the wake of the Independent Planning Commission's (IPC) judgement to reject a new open cut and underground mine in the Bylong Valley last week.
The organisation's message will appear in print and online, as well as on radio.
CEO Stephen Galilee admitted the issue reached crisis point following the IPC's decision to refuse consent for the Bylong Coal Project.
"The development, near the regional towns of Kandos and Rylstone, received broad support from the local communities, the local regional council, and local MPs," he said.
"The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment recommended the project be approved and none of the 14 government agencies consulted on the project objected.
"Yet, the IPC chose to ignore all this and refused it, apparently giving greater weight to 'cut-and-paste' form letters from anti-mining activists from as far away as Sydney's North Shore.
"This refusal has meant the loss of 1100 jobs for the local region and more than a billion dollars in investment to NSW.
"But, the Minister seems happy to let these opportunities slip away."
Mr Johnsen, however, is keen to support the NSW Minerals Council any way he can.
He's also sent a letter to Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Planning Rob Stokes confirming his stance on the matter.
"I strongly condemn the determination of the Independent Planning Commission in their refusal to permit the Bylong Coal Project," Mr Johnsen told the Chronicle.
"Given the wording of the determination, the IPC appears to look for any ideological excuse to stifle industry and development in the Upper Hunter.
"The commission admitted that the project would deliver an estimated $290 million of royalties to the present generation, yet the refusal was a result of the IPC's opinion that it was an unfair impost on future generations.
"Among the wording of the determination was the following: 'The project is not in the public interest because it is contrary to the principles of ecologically sustainable development - namely intergenerational equity because the predicted economic benefits would accrue to the present generation but the long-term environmental, heritage and agricultural costs will be borne by the future generations'.
"It is beholden of me, on behalf of my Upper Hunter electorate community, to seriously ask how can such a claim regarding future generations be quantified?
"How is the IPC legitimately able to know what the costs may or may not be?
"The government needs to urgently overhaul the planning system so decisions are made on the basis of fact, not theory.
"Communities in NSW deserve nothing less."
Mr Galilee said the NSW Minerals Council's decision to initiate the "crusade" was not taken lightly.
"It comes after months of engagement and warnings to the Minister for Planning about the risk of the planning system to jobs and investment," he explained.
"It's become a lottery for all major developments.
"While the Deputy Premier and others in the NSW Government have shown strong support for mining projects and mining communities, the Planning Minister seems oblivious to the damage being done by the crisis in his planning system, especially in the regions.
"The industry has repeatedly warned him of the risks to the NSW economy and has been reassured that reforms to planning timeframes and processes would be pursued.
"However, no action's been taken and the problems have only gotten worse."
Meanwhile, the Lock the Gate Alliance slammed the campaign, stating it was an insult to farmers.
"The NSW Minerals Council is out of touch with the priorities of drought-affected regions attempting to safeguard water resources," spokesperson Georgina Woods said.
"There's no future for regional NSW if we sacrifice precious water resources for the sake of a short-term mining grab.
"That's what the IPC understood: development must provide for future generations not short change them."
She was supported by Bylong Valley farmer Phillip Kennedy.
"It is obscene that the NSW Minerals Council is running a campaign like this during an intense drought, which doesn't look like ending any time soon," he said.
"There are whole towns running out of water.
"Feed is so scarce right now - we need to conserve the land and water we have so we can grow fodder.
"We cannot sustain both vitally important agriculture and a dirty great big coal mine.
"We've got the equivalent of a little bathtub in the Bylong Valley, not the Great Artesian Basin.
"The NSW Minerals Council has no idea.
"Bylong is a unique, small valley and it is ridiculous for anyone to think a mine won't impact the water and farmland here."
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