The Gateway assessment is an independent, upfront scientific assessment of the impact of new State significant mining and coal seam gas proposals on strategic agricultural land and its associated water resources.
Strategic agricultural land comprises:
- Biophysical strategic agricultural land – land which has the best quality soil and water resources and is capable of sustaining high levels of productivity
- Critical Industry Cluster land – a concentration of significant agricultural industries potentially impacted by coal seam gas or mining development
The Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel, comprising independent scientific experts, has been established to oversee the Gateway assessment process, which must occur before an applicant can submit a development application.
The Gateway process now applies to the 2.8 million hectares of strategic agricultural land which has been mapped across NSW, as well as the equine and viticulture critical industry clusters in the Upper Hunter region.
Commonwealth involvement in the Gateway process
The NSW and the Australian Federal Government have agreed on a Referral Protocol under the National Partnership Agreement on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development.
This will ensure all project decisions in NSW which could have a significant impact on a water resource will consider the advice of the Commonwealth’s Independent Expert Scientific Committee (CIESC).
Mining and coal seam gas proposals on biophysical strategic agricultural land will be referred to this Committee for advice on water impacts and the Committee’s advice will form part of the Gateway Panel’s consideration of the proposal.
The NSW Government has introduced a site verification process to enable mining and coal seam gas operators, and in some circumstances landowners, to verify if land is classified as biophysical strategic agricultural land. An Interim protocol for site verification and mapping of biophysical strategic agricultural land has been produced to outline the process.
Apply for a site verification certificate
SEPP (Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industries) Amendment (Resource Significance) 2013
In November 2013, the NSW Government introduced an amendment to the Mining SEPP to clarify the decision-making process for resource proposals. View the amendment.
The Gateway amendment and the Resource significance amendment work together to ensure that a comprehensive and balanced consideration of the impacts and benefits of a proposal are properly conducted, both upfront at the strategic planning phase and later down the track at the DA decision-making phase.
Learn more about SEPP (Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industries) Amendment (Resource Significance) 2013.
SEPP (Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industries) Amendment 2014
In July 2014, changes were made to this policy to ensure a consistent approach to the way the Gateway process is applied across the State (see FAQ below).