'Things are going to get ugly'

"THINGS are going to get ugly" if the NSW Government does not move immediately to give the community more power to protect their land from mining development, Independent MP Rob Oakeshott has warned.

His frustration with the NSW planning laws was fuelled by the Land and Environment Court's decision to uphold AGL's approval to tap into coal seam gas at Gloucester and the sale of the largest dairy farm in his electorate to a mining company this week.

Mr Oakeshott said on Thursday greater community input was needed in the planning process if the State Government was to avoid imminent civil disobedience.

The AGL development was approved under Part 3-A of the Planning Law, a rule which was introduced by the previous State Government in spite of a community outcry.

In this year's state budget the O'Farrell Government revealed plans for a major shake-up of the state's planning laws but Mr Oakeshott, who spoke out in opposition to Part 3-A approvals before they were introduced, believes change can't come quick enough.

He called for a "genuine return" of community power in the planning process and tighter regulations on resource-based applications.

"We are seeing time and time again that the community is feeling very disenchanted with inconsistencies in planning laws and we have reached a point where there must be come consistent in the rules of engagement," Mr Oakeshott said

"Should the community continue to feel that their concerns are misplaced and that they are seen as some sort of distraction in the process, things are going to get ugly - they are going to want to fight."


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