John Bartholomew , of  St Peters NSW, made the following submission on the project:

Change to mining policy

I am writing to support the Planning Minister's proposal to repeal the "resource significance" clause (12AA) in the NSW Mining SEPP.

This is an important first step in returning balance to the planning process relating to mining project proposals in NSW.

The existing SEPP looks like it was written (and may have been written) exclusively for the mining industry's short-term benefit and in ignorance of the existence of any other person, community, or industry in NSW.

Mining has and can make important contributions to the prosperity of NSW, but all those contributions come at a cost to other sectors of the economy and society, and always to our environment, which underpins the viability of all economic activity. It is therefore only fair and reasonable that those other interests should have the right to be heard, on an equal footing, when any proposal is made to disrupt the environment or a community, or another type of enterprise, by commencing or expanding a mine.

Mining is an industry with a very large footprint. While its beneficial effects, employment and new minerals, are transient, its damaging effects, environmental devastation, sickness and death, can be much longer lasting, and may cost more to remediate and compensate for than the value of the entire production of the mine in cases of outstanding negligence or malfeasance by mining companies.

For this reason, democratic states are required by their citizens to properly regulate mines, both at the planning and operational stages, including cleanup. It is not fair to the state, or to its citizens, for a mining company to be allowed to profit by the extraction of useful minerals from publicly owned land, while the state and its citizens must bear the cost, in terms of money, amenity, health, and lives of the environmental and economic damage done by the mine.

When this situation is allowed to occur by reckless or inept state administrations, the result is always that irresponsible mining operators are granted a competitive advantage over their responsible peers, and a race to lower standards of every type is established as an economic necessity. This is bad for everybody; the state, the citizens, the environment, other types of industry, and even the miners themselves, who are encouraged to engage in more and more dubious projects. Mining companies lose their reputations, investors lose their money, the mines' neighbours lose their livelihoods, their health, the value of their properties, mine workers lose their lives, and the state loses the environmental services that underpin its continued prosperity.

This is why I support proper, fair amendments to the NSW Mining SEPP, so that everybody in NSW, including miners, may benefit. I suggest that to achieve this result, not only the repeal of clause 12AA is necessary, but also of clause 12AB, which limits the ability of the Planning Department to impose appropriate noise and air quality controls on all mining operations. Additionally, the "major projects offset policy" should be scrapped in the interests of the public and industry.

Thankyou for making this opportunity to comment available.