CSG progress now depends on investors

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Leading lawyers have responded to changes in NSW’s Coal Seam Gas (CSG) controls, arguing the future of the market will depend on how investors view the changes.

The NSW Government moved in October 2013 to reform the process of approving new CSG projects, after widespread community concern over the future and safety of the industry.

The changes were finalised in January, and include the establishment and expansion of exclusion zones in residential areas and residential growth centres, as well as the creation of a ‘Gateway Panel’ to assess the impact of certain mining projects on agricultural land.

Following the finalisation of new CSG controls, Baker & MacKenzie partners said the future of CSG mining in NSW would now depend on the investor reaction to the process.

“NSW now has the most rigorous CSG controls in Australia,” said Baker & MacKenzie partner Jennifer Hughes in a client update explaining the changes.

“The NSW Government says that it has struck the right balance to ensure that communities, agricultural and resource development can co-exist and that industry now has some certainty as to where future projects may proceed," she says.

"Whether or not that is the case will, however, depend upon how comfortable the industry feels in investing in potential CSG projects when authorities retain the ability to rezone land as residential or identify land as 'future residential growth', 'rural village' or CIC (Critical Industry Cluster).”