NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Gateway Assessment and Site Verification

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 that 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 assessment 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 Commonwealth Governments have agreed on a Referral Protocol under the National Partnership Agreement on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development.

This means that all project decisions in NSW, which could have a significant impact on water resources will have to be referred to the Commonwealth’s Independent Expert Scientific Committee (IESC). The Committee’s advice will form part of the Gateway Panel’s consideration of a proposal.

Site verification

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.

Those wishing to apply for a site verification certificate should register as a proponent on our Major Projects website, and follow the prompts provided in the application form.

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).


Further information

Telephone 1300 305 695
Email: information@planning.nsw.gov.au

Page last updated: 17/02/2023