On the 15th February, a second quarry in Herons Creek on State Forest Land was approved, by the Joint Regional Planning Panel, in the face of strong community objection.
The company planning to mine this land at Herons Creek submitted a very poor response to the planning panel’s previous demand for further information, yet the Development Application was approved anyway. The message was clear – it is very difficult to successfully oppose a development.
The chairman of the Panel Gary West referred to a recent amendment to The Local Environment Plan, which was changed days before this application was lodged and permitted extractive industries and agriculture on State Forest Land. He stated that he dealt with the current situation (LEP Amendment) and was not responsible for it (not quite his exact words).
Our State Forests – now at risk of extractive industries and agriculture
The message from the Council and The Regional Panel is one of legal impotence for the community in opposing developments even on State Forest Land and Crown Land, but it gets worse! In November, a Bill was passed by Niall Blair, Minister for Primary Industries to make the exploitation of State Forest Land and Crown Land by the private sector, easier. It also takes away some Aboriginal rights in the process. The process of putting this into effect will take place this year which can potentially effect between 33% and 42% of our State!
State Forest Land always has been a commercial enterprise, but was intended to sustainably produce forest products forever.
We need a more balanced legal framework which can make commonsense decisions for our community and you can get in touch with us to sign or even get a copy of our petition calling on council to disallow extractive (mining) industry on State Forest Land and you can also get involved by making a submission about these legislative changes via accessing the website of NSW EDO.
It is essential that the community uses political pressure to protect the environment for future generations. The Herons Creek Community have shown amazing spirit and effort so please support them by signing our petition, and writing a submission or even a letter addressed to Niall Blair, and Lesley Williams, expressing concern for the Governance of Crown Lands and State Forests.
Petitions can be collected from and returned to Nadine Rose, 9 Merrigal Road, Port Macquarie, or download here: Herons CreekBlankPetitionTemplate