Ignoring concerns has led to a shambles
Five months ago the NSW government declared it had finally solved the vexed issue of coal seam gas in the state.
Its strategic regional land use policy, released in mid-September, was more than a year in the making.
The policy, we were told, was so well developed there was no need to quarantine sensitive areas from any type of coal seam gas or coal-mining activity.
We were assured the ''gateway process'', whereby all applications would be carefully analysed to balance their impact on the land against the financial interests of the state, would ensure only fair decisions would be made.
So what happened? It appears the answer is primarily an upswell of anger among residents of the hot electoral battleground of western Sydney, many of whom faced the prospect of AGL drilling for gas beneath their homes.
Barry O'Farrell has dismissed suggestions the timing is driven by the looming federal election. He insists he has been concerned about the issue of drilling near homes for some time and asked his Planning Minister, Brad Hazzard, to examine options in December.
But there is also strong evidence to suggest this is a classic case of policy on the run, chiefly designed to nullify the attack launched two weeks ago by the federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, over the state's approvals regime.
How else to explain the lack of detail about how the government will define a residential area? Are we talking one house or 1000 homes? There is no answer.
It's hard to pick the difference between knee-jerk politics and policy that emerges from genuine community consultation.
Either way, it's clear the government should have listened far more closely to the concerns raised early in the process.