Monday, December 10th, 2012
A new plain-English guide to the laws on mining in NSW, focused on the coal and coal seam gas (CSG) sectors, was launched today by EDO NSW.

Titled Mining Law in New South Wales: A guide for the community, the 128-page booklet covers both state and Commonwealth law and offers a comprehensive legal guide to inform communities and individual landholders about the legal processes around mining law.

The launch event at the State Library of New South Wales in Sydney (11am 10/12/2012) featured a panel of community representatives and EDO NSW clients who are involved with mining issues.

Mr. Peter Martin of the Southern Highlands Coal Action Group said, “We are pleased to be attending the launch of the EDO NSW Mining Law booklet and look forward to putting it to good use. EDO NSW publications have been vital in helping us to understand our rights and obligations with regards to mining and CSG developments. This allows us to use the law to the fullest extent possible to protect our communities’ interests and those of the environment.”

EDO NSW Executive Director, Jeff Smith said there had been strong demand for the guide ahead of publication, with EDO NSW having received pre-orders for over 1500 copies before today’s official launch. The guide is also available online:

“We think this reflects widespread community concern across NSW about coal and CSG expansion, and a real hunger for quality information about the legal processes involved and the rights of individual landholders and local communities,” said Mr. Smith.

Mr. Smith said that the Mining Law book aims to educate the public about the assessment and approval processes applying to mining and CSG activities in NSW and how to engage effectively in those processes.

EDO NSW is making a limited release of the guide, with an initial print run of 2000 hard copies. The guide will also be updated in 2013 when the current overhaul of the state’s planning laws is completed.

Ms. Julie Lyford from Gloucester said, “We’ve seen first hand the excellent work that EDO NSW does in demystifying the complex legal issues around mining law. There really is no other reliable and independent source of such information.”

Mr. Scott Franks of the Wonnarua people continued, “Mining has had a major impact on many areas of Aboriginal cultural significance. Without EDO NSW we would find it difficult to know how the legal system can be used to protect our community’s history”.

Key points from the book include:
• ‘Mining and coal seam gas (CSG) activities are expanding throughout the State. As these industries expand, the potential for land use conflicts is greatly increased, as is the potential for negative environmental, social and economic impacts.’
• ‘This booklet aims to educate the public about the assessment and approval processes applying to mining and CSG activities in NSW and how to engage effectively in those processes. It is our hope that this booklet will help the people of NSW to understand their rights and obligations with regards to mining and CSG developments and empower them to use the law to the fullest extent possible to protect their interests and those of the environment.’
• ‘Mining and CSG projects in regional areas can bring benefits to local communities, including employment. However, the introduction of mining and CSG operations into an area can also cause a great deal of concern amongst community members, and potentially long term social, economic and environmental disruption.’
• ‘This booklet explains the law that regulates mining and CSG developments. At the time of writing, there were a number of changes flagged that may significantly affect how mining and CSG activities are regulated in NSW. For example, the Government is currently undertaking a review of the NSW Planning System with a view to replacing the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW). It is expected that NSW will have a new planning system in 2013.’
• ‘The NSW Government is also developing a range of policies to respond to overwhelming community concern about the impacts of mining and CSG developments.’

“The Mining Law guide has been funded by the NSW Government through the NSW Environmental Trust and has been produced in consultation with the Department of Planning and Infrastructure and a number of other stakeholders. EDO NSW is extremely grateful for this support.” Mr. Smith concluded.

The mining law handbook joins a popular series of EDO NSW guides available in hard copy and online including Rural Landholders Guide (over 50,000 distributed), Caring for the Coast (6000+), A Guide to Private Conservation (10,000+) and Caring for Country (3000+).

EDO NSW’s next publishing project, also funded by the NSW Environmental Trust, is an online resource scheduled for release in 2013. Called Influencing Environmental Outcomes: A Guide to Having Your Say, it will cover a wide range of environmental issues for the community.

The online link for all EDO NSW publications is:

Contact Profile


EDO NSW (originally known as the Environmental Defender’s Office) is an independent community legal centre specialising in public interest environmental and planning law. As well as its head office in Sydney, EDO NSW has a regional office in Lismore in far northern NSW, operates a free telephone advice line taking about 1500 calls a year, and runs about 30 community education workshops a year in regional and rural locations.
Jeff Smith
P: 0428 262 010


EDO NSW, Environmental Defender's Office NSW, Mining, Coal, Coal Seam Gas, Community Guide



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