NSW CSG exclusion zonesThe NSW Government announced this week further exclusion zones for coal seam gas (CSG) development across NSW. The exclusion zones will now apply to an additional 2.7 million hectares of land across NSW in order to protect current and future residential areas as well as critical industry clusters in the Upper Hunter.
CSG exclusion zones are already in place for existing residential areas throughout NSW. These exclusion zones apply a two kilometre buffer around the residential areas to prohibit any new CSG activities.
The latest announcement will see a prohibition of CSG activities in an additional seven rural villages as well as future residential growth areas. The rural villages that have been identified include:
- parts of Broke and Bulga, and all of Camberwell and Jerrys Plains, in the Singleton Local Government Area
- all of Sutton Forrest in the Wingecarribee Local Government Area
- part of Goonengerry in the Byron Local Government Area, and
- all of Modanville in the Lismore Local Government Area.
This means that approximately 95 per cent of dwellings in NSW that are covered by current petroleum licences will be protected from any further CSG exploration and development. The exclusion zones around these rural villages will not impact on State Significant mining developments which will still go through the gateway process before proceeding to the environmental assessment stage.
The future growth residential areas where CSG activities will also be prohibited are in the Gosford and Great Lakes council areas.
These exclusion zones will not prohibit CSG activities which already have development consent.
Upper Hunter Critical Industry ClustersThe wine and equine industries will also be protected from new CSG activities with the addition of 288,000 hectares of critical industry cluster (CIC) land being added to existing CSG exclusion zones. This means that any new CSG exploration or development will be prohibited in the mapped CIC areas.
In addition, development applications for State significant mining in the mapped CIC areas will be subjected to the Gateway process. Finalisation of the CIC mapping will have the greatest impact on mining operations around Muswellbrook with approximately 200,000 hectares being declared as equine clusters.