In an effort to allow discussion and discourse over the expansion and development of local mines, the NSW Government’s Department of Planning & Environment had organised drop-in sessions in four venues.
(min cost $8)
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The first forum was held Monday evening at the Mudgee Golf Club’s function centre, where almost fifty people arrived to provide their input for the draft Social Impact Assessment guidelines for state significant resource projects currently on public exhibition.
The new guidelines have been created to improve the quality and utility of social impact assessments for major mining, petroleum and extractive projects, which in turn will drive better project design and provide greater certainty to local communities and proponents.
Touching on ‘potential topics’ and then allowing people to have their say on them, the event was well coordinated and achieved what it set out to do – provide those with grievances a chance to suggest changes to the draft.
The main focus from those that attended was that the mines needed to be more transparent in their actions.
“It is so surprising to me that this document is so long, and difficult to read for someone who has just picked it up,” one attendee said.
Another vocal voice believed that small communities cannot be forgotten.
“All my friends are gone, all the stores close without the people, and what drove them out was the noise, the proximity of the mine,” he said.
“It’s going to put an end to small communities, because suddenly I’m living by myself a long drive from town, right on the border of a mine that was kilometers away a year ago.”
More discussion forums are to be held in Gunnedah and Wollongong over the weekend.
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