“A former New South Wales judge has called for independent to be dropped from the state’s planning commission after it approved the controversial Narrabri coal seam gas development, arguing the body is effectively controlled by the government,” The Guardian reported.

“Paul Stein QC, a retired Court of Appeal judge, was deeply concerned the NSW IPC had been diminished by the government in March following complaints by mining and resource interests.

“They included allowing the Planning Minister, Rob Stokes, to impose a tight time frame in which a decision had to be reached and appointing new members to the commission.

“This was a massive inquiry, highly technical and it was ordered to be finished in 90 days.

“He said a decision of the complexity of the Narrabri development would need up to six months to properly consider under normal circumstances.

“The commission suggested the project could produce 840,000 tonnes of salt waste, nearly twice as much as Santos had estimated would be produced in its environmental impact statement.

“Salt could contaminate ground and surface water if not disposed of properly, allowing landfill to be used as a last resort.”

Really commissioners!

On groundwater, the IPC said that Santos still needed to provide more information regarding the proponent’s impact modelling.

The imposed conditions do not permit Santos to establish the production field if the revised groundwater model predicts an exceedance of the water management performance measures identified in the consent.

I emphasise the word predict.

The decision included 134 conditions.

So why Mr O’Connor, Mr Hann and Mr Barlow, people we consider to have integrity, did you approve the project with so many unanswered questions.

Please explain out of 11,273 submissions only 460 plus three commissioners supported the project.

Do you honestly believe any pro-government agency will police and act on any of the above.

Sorry Mr Commissioners, you base your decisions on ifs, could, minimal, last resort and predictions. We would rather a decision based on facts and integrity.

Remember APA will next be knocking. Please consider carefully.

R McAlary, Coonamble

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