Under the notorious Part 3A, the Minister has the power to take over all aspects of the approval process for any project. An environmental impact statement is only required if the Minister agrees; there is no grounds for a legal challenge; and the Minister has the power to ignore breaches of environmental and heritage laws. These far reaching changes were introduced in record time with no opportunity for consultation with the wider community, apart from the property industry.
The Department of Planning’s Major Development Monitor 2007-08 shows that last year the government approved 295 of the 296 applications it considered under its controversial Part 3A planning powers, a developer success rate of 99.66%.
In her first five months on the job, the Minister who replaced Frank Sartor has approved 90 projects under Part 3A projects.
Between February 2006 and December 2008, 35 coal mining projects have been approved under Part 3A Major Project applications: new coal mines, modifications increasing production or adding longwall tunnels or entire open cut mines, coal loader infrastructure, etc etc etc . . .
More mining projects awaiting determination by the Minister for Planning under Part 3A - the questions is not 'if', but 'when' they will be approved. Jan 2009
“The effect of the [State Environmental Planning Policy No. 45] on the only local environmental plans identified is to make permissible mining which will have, or is likely to have, adverse environmental effects in environmental protection zones"
Greens MP and ports spokesperson Lee Rhiannon said today that Ports Minister Joe Tripodi’s move to create new planning rules for Port Botany will rob local residents, councils and local businesses of the opportunity to have some control over the future expansion of the port.
"[I]f there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation". . .
Barrick Gold has submitted a proposal to modify its development consent at the mine to double its size and extend its life by 11 years. The Land and Environment Court upheld that the project is not a modification of the mine's existing development consent, but rather a radical transformation.
Greens MP and mining spokesperson Lee Rhiannon says Minister Sartor’s approval this afternoon of the massive Moolarben coal mine, the largest new coal mine proposal on the table in NSW, again shows the Iemma government is failing to step up to the challenge of climate change.
Greens MP and mining spokesperson Lee Rhiannon has called on the NSW government to take climate change seriously and not approve the 22 proposed new coal projects.
ABS data show that, in 2007-08, expenditure on mineral exploration in Australia was 39 per cent higher than in 2006-07. In real terms, this is the highest on record and more than double the average of the past 25 years.