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Changes to planning rules will hit mining

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World Coal,

Recent proposals to amend state planning policy in New South Wales (NSW) would cost jobs and hurt mining communities, according to the NSW Minerals Council. The proposals would give greater weight to environmental and community factors during the planning process, removing a measure that made the significance of the resource the principal consideration.

“This is a retrograde step that will hurt NSW,” said Stephen Galilee, CEO of the NSW Minerals Council, in a statement. It will put at risk thousands of current and potential jobs, particularly in regional mining communities where unemployment is often well above the state average.”

One of the projects that could be impacted by the change is Rio Tinto’s planned expansion of its Mount Thorley Warkworth mine in the Hunter Valley, which is currently under review by the state Planning Assessment Commission.

“There are thousands of mining jobs hanging in the balance in NSW, caught up in the state planning system, including 1800 workers and their families in the Hunter Valley,” concluded Galilee. “The planning minister must ensure that any changes to the SEPP won’t be retrospective and impact on projects close to completing the assessment process.”

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