Important: this public comment process only applies to exploration for coal and petroleum, including coal seam gas.

The New South Wales Government recognises the potential impacts that exploration, mining and production can have on nearby communities. As a result the Government provides communities with the opportunity to provide feedback about proposed exploration activities.

The Public comment process for the exploration of coal and petroleum, including coal seam gas PDF [190 KB PDF] improves the transparency, efficiency and effectiveness of the Government's decision making process for exploration licence applications. It also assists in gathering relevant local information and in the development of more robust processes to protect the environment.

The public comment process aims to minimise, or where possible avoid, potential impacts on a community. It is part of the planning approval process under the Environmental Protection and Assessment Act 1979.

The role of the public comment process  in relation to exploration licences is:

  1. to inform the community that an exploration licence has been lodged and provide a description of the activities that may be carried out as part of the proposed exploration program; and
  2. enable members of the community to raise issues that should be taken into consideration when determining whether or not certain exploration activities can be carried out, or the conditions that should apply to any approved activities.

Given that exploration is focused on the location and economic assessment of a mineral deposit and that further approvals (including preparation of a detailed Environmental Impact Statement) will be required before any mining or petroleum production can be carried out, public comment will only be sought on matters relating to the effects of the exploration process.

The purpose of this process is to ensure that the interests of the State are balanced by the interests of the community directly affected by the activities.

Often this balance will be achieved by conditioning exploration licences appropriately so that approved exploration activities do not unnecessarily impact on matters of environmental, social and economic importance to the community.

Preparing your submission

For information about what to include in your submission and how submissions are used, read the Public Comment Process PDF [190 KB PDF].

Online form for public comment

You can use this online form to submit a public comment about an exploration licence application.