NSW Farmers says the results of a state-wide audit of coal and gas exploration licences has highlighted the need for an increase in compliance for all exploration activities.
The organisation said the report by the NSW Department of Trade and Investment showed that more than half of the coal exploration licences audited (13 out of 20) were found to be non-compliant and all had room for improvement.
In the coal seam gas industry, 13 out of 22 petroleum exploration licences found to be non-compliant and all had room for improvement, the report said.
NSW Farmers president, Fiona Simson, said some 1000 exploration licences for minerals had not been picked up in the report despite the government committing to a state-wide audit of current exploration licences.
Ms Simson said NSW Farmers strongly supported a review of exploration licences and endorsed the audit’s recommendation to amend Petroleum Legislation to address industry risk areas.
“The audit was long overdue and while we welcome it, more work needs to be done to ensure NSW farmers and communities get what they deserve – that is no less than 100 percent compliance by exploration companies and protection of our state’s land and water.
“This can only happen if the government’s compliance regime is rigorous and enforced. The poor result of this audit highlights the need for an increase in compliance on all exploration activities.”
Ms Simson agriculture generated more than $8.4 billion annually for the NSW economy and employed 74,000 people full-time.
“More importantly, it is the backbone of thousands of rural communities throughout NSW.”