THE NSW Government's "back-flip" on its election pledge to protect the state's water supply from mining interference has raised the ire of North Coast environmental activists.
Lock the Gate spokesman Ian Gaillard believes the State Government has "sold out the groundwater of NSW" to the coal-seam gas industry and he has put the Premier on notice to expect the most significant protest action in the state's history in response.
Last week, NSW Planning Minister Brad Hazzard unveiled the latest version of the government's aquifer interference policy at a farming forum in Sydney.
In the lead-up to the last state election, a draft of the policy was released in an attempt to reassure voters the coalition would put stringent measures in place to protect sensitive land and water supplies from CSG.
The current version, however, provides a loophole for companies making applications for significant mining developments of "agricultural or environmental value" to bypass the strict vetting process.
Instead, they simply will be asked to follow the (non-legally binding) "advice" given to them by Water Minister Katrina Hodgkinson.
The change in attitude has sparked outrage in the farming and irrigating community but Mr Gaillard says it is an issue that should be deeply troubling to every Australian.
He said if people understood just how great was the risk of contamination to ground and bore water, they would be out in droves.
He hoped the public would support the non-violent protest action being planned and, while he was reluctant to say what that action would be, he promised activists would be "making their voices heard by their actions like never before".
"CSG is something that will undermine the future health of generation after generation," Mr Gaillard said.
"History will show this was a crime of the biggest magnitude.
"In 20 years our grandchildren will look back and ask 'How could this possibly have been allowed?' "
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