The Strategic Regional Land Use Policy was announced on 11 September 2012 and sets out a range of initiatives to better balance growth in the mining and coal seam gas industries with the need to protect important agricultural land and water resources. Further information can be found by visiting the department's website.

As part of the Strategic Regional Land Use Policy, the government announced that all mineral and petroleum (including coal seam gas) exploration activities that require a Review of environmental factors (REF) under Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) would require an Agricultural impact statement (AIS).  From the experience of reviewing these AISs since 2012, and as a result of an internal review, it become clear that the required level of detail for exploration AISs were not matching the risks posed by these activities.

In consultation with stakeholders and industry, a revised Guideline for Agricultural Impact Statements at the Exploration Stage was released in August 2015.

Under the revised guidelines, an AIS is required for exploration activities that require submission of a REF for assessment under Part 5 of the EP&A Act and that may impact on agricultural resources or industries (see Figure 1 of the revised guidelines). These exploration activities are defined in the conditions of exploration authorities/titles.

Depending on the location of the activity, either a Level 1 or Level 2 AIS will be required. In certain circumstances, where it is very likely that there will be no impacts on agricultural resources or industries, an AIS will not be required.

The former Guideline for Agricultural Impact Statements at the Exploration Stage (2012) may be used up until 1 December 2015 to allow for a transition of an existing exploration project.

Note: The exploration AIS will be assessed in parallel with the REF and will be published in DIGS following receipt by Mining Exploration and Geoscience.  DIGS database provides access to a range of information relating to exploration and mining activities. Information on how to use the database is detailed in the DIGS User Guide

Some useful tips when using DIGS:

  • to find information relating to REFs and subsidence management plans type REF or SMP in the Report Number field
  • the Tenement Name/Number field requires 4 digits to search. This means that titles such as EL123 should be entered as EL0123

Further information can be obtained by contacting the department.