In response to my question in Parliament, the Planning and Infrastructure Minister committed to addressing the planning policy vacuum governing where coal seam gas can and can't be mined to protect cities, agriculture, aquifers, water supplies and national parks.
Last year, exploratory drilling was approved in St Peters without council or community notification. At the time I asked the then Premier to make exploration licences comply with a strategic plan for mining with Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water oversight.
The new Government has promised a Strategic Regional Land Use Policy and there is a temporary moratorium on coal seam gas exploration. An Upper House Inquiry will look at impacts of coal seam gas mining and I have asked City staff to prepare a submission.
I told the Government that the Strategic Regional Land Use Policy must mandate protection of sensitive areas rather than provide guidelines for consideration in development decisions.
Gas is widely accepted as a transitional fuel from coal to renewables - future mining must have effective environmental and social safeguards.