Mining industry slams NSW government in major ad attack
The mining sector will today launch an extraordinary advertising attack on the NSW government, condemning the state's planning system for costing jobs and more than a billion dollars of investment.
NSW Minerals Council chief Stephen Galilee said the public campaign was "an indication of the depth of frustration and disillusionment felt with the NSW planning system, and with Planning Minister Rob Stokes".
Mr Galilee said he believed Deputy Premier John Barilaro and others in the government had shown strong support for mining projects and mining communities, but pointed the finger at Mr Stokes who he said "seems oblivious to the damage being done".
Reminiscent of the anti- mining tax campaign that savagely wounded then prime minister Kevin Rudd, the print, radio and online ads running from today attack the "unelected, part-time planning panel" that rejected a proposed Bylong coal mine last week.
"Last week NSW lost over 1100 new jobs and over $1 billion in investment," one ad states. " It's the latest example of the planning system failing the people of NSW."
The mining sector says it has spent six months warning the government privately about its slow and prohibitive planning process.
The campaign is backed by a multimillion-dollar "fighting fund" from industry and will be expanded throughout the state after initially targeting Sydney this week to coincide with the parliamentary sitting week.
The catalyst was the Independent Planning Commission's refusal to support the Bylong project, citing "scope three emissions" - the impact of coal burnt in Korea - as one of the reasons.
Green groups hailed it as a "game changing decision" for coal while local businesses relying on the multimillion-dollar mine to generate badly needed jobs warned they would have to shut up shop.
Mr Galilee said the Mineral Council's campaign followed "months of engagement and warnings to Mr Stokes and government about the risks of the planning system to jobs and investment and the need for reform".
"The industry's concerns have been ignored and sadly are now being proven correct - jobs and investment are being lose. The NSW economy is under threat."
The mining sector has also mobilised residents in mining communities to write directly to the Premier and their local member to vent frustrations.
Mr Galilee slammed the planning system as a "lottery", pointing to the recent rejection of the Ritz Carlton tower at Pyrmont as further evidence.
He said he believed Mr Stokes "completely failed to understand the depth of feeling on this issue and is out of touch with the real economic cost to regional NSW of his failure to take action".
Shooters Fishers and Farmers leader Robert Borsak also confirmed yesterday he was willing to support reasonable legislation to fix the NSW planning system, saying the government had a responsibility to act now.
"Anything short and they are effectively strangling the heart out of rural and regional NSW," he said.