Under a state Labor government it would be clear people got the best value for their resources both on the ground and below, NSW Shadow Minister for Resources and Primary Industries Steve Whan said on Monday.
Mr Whan gave the first address for the Mudgee Mining conference in front of about 100 delegates at Parklands Resort.
He said an overriding challenge facing the NSW government is re-establishing a community license to mine.
“Just as land users should know what’s good for them to be sustainable so should mining businesses looking to explore their options,” Mr Whan said.
“In the lead up to the previous [state] election parts of the community perceived mines were being approved uncontrollably and believed government rhetoric but the reality is different.”
Mr Whan told the conference he believed foreign-owned companies buying land in NSW for potential mining sites was the right move.
Using the Shenhua Watermark Coal case in Gunnedah last year, Mr Whan said the company did the right thing.
“These companies look at developing major projects at a significant risk,” he said.
“Land will still be farmed and it’s not as though we ship the land back overseas.”
We want to move away from the “back of the envelope type policies” such as the $7000 grant to move families to regional centres.
Speaking on the topic of encouraging mining investment and exploration in the Central West, Mr Whan said new Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show about 280,000 indirect jobs across the country are to be created from mining in the near future.
To February 2010, the mining industry gained 9,300 employees which followed on from a 25,300 increase in the previous 12 month period to February 2009. Each new mining job is said to at least create three to four other indirect mining jobs.
Currently the Central West has 14 mines including 11 coal mines with potential for another three coal mines coming to the Mid-Western region in the next five years.
Mr Whan, who is also the shadow minister for tourism, said he understood at times the supply chain for community infrastructure from governments may seem slow.
But he said the Labor party was looking at developing policy suited to specific regions and welcomed feedback.
“We want to move away from the “back of the envelope type policies” such as the $7000 grant to move families to regional centres,” Mr Whan said.
He spoke about the need for policy in Central West communities who are each likely to see growth in population over the coming years.
A problem is there are some rural communities declining in population. Mr Whan cited current controversy around a mining camp in Gulgong to show how a balance must be met in rural communities.