The Lock the Gate Alliance has today called for a full judicial inquiry into the approvals granted for Whitehaven Coal’s Maules Creek mine following evidence presented to the ICAC hearings into payments to MPs for favors.
The inquiry has heard that former Hunter Valley billionaire Nathan Tinkler, who once owned interests in the Maules Creek Mine, was a central figure in a series of allegedly corrupt schemes to get projects approved in NSW.
The inquiry has heard of political donations made to the Liberal Party and the National Party by companies associated with Mr Tinkler.
National coordinator for Lock the Gate Phil Laird said landholders in northern NSW had long suspected something was not quite right about the way the Maules Creek mine had been fast tracked through the approvals process.
“Last year two former directors of Aston Resources, founded by Nathan Tinkler, were prosecuted for not disclosing donations made to the National Party when they submitted the mine’s application for approval.
“Now we have further allegations that there were things going on behind the scenes with an allegedly corrupt and complicated series of payments to politicians for favors. This may help explain why this coal project has been given so much special treatment,” Mr Laird said.
“The Maules Creek coal mine has been mired in controversy since its outset with questionable offset arrangements, the bulldozing of one of the nation’s most unique woodlands and a licence to take an extraordinary amount of water.
“It has been pushed through with little regard to its environmental impact nor its impact on sites of cultural significance to the Gomeroi people.
“We need an immediate stop work at Maules Creek until we see the results of a full judicial inquiry into all aspects of the approval process.
“We call on Premier Mike Baird to rebuild public confidence in the NSW planning system by subjecting the approvals process of the Maules Creek coal mine to a full judicial inquiry,” Mr Laird said.
Further information: Phil Laird 0428 712622