The public will get its best chance yet to follow the money trail between big donors, mining approvals and government when the Senate Inquiry into the Queensland Government and its finances, opens today, Lock the Gate Alliance said.
Public hearings begin on the Gold Coast this morning in what is hoped will be a forensic review of years of questionable approvals related to coal and gas projects and exports.
“This inquiry will examine how and why “Queensland Incorporated” has been allowed to flout international environmental regulations, ride rough shod over landholders and kowtow to mining interests,” Lock the Gate president Drew Hutton said.
“The inquiry will look specifically at CSG project approvals, and other resource exports including coal, and we hope it will get to the bottom of how and why some very questionable deals were ever given the green light.
“We are hearing from landholders across Queensland who are working on submissions to put before the inquiry on coal and gas projects that have taken their water, disrupted their businesses and impacted on their health.
“This is the best chance we have had to get to the bottom of large donations to political parties that have coincided with mining approvals; the surprise three minutes to midnight changes that stripped landholders of objection rights to mining projects; and the reasons why some mining projects are railroaded through departments for approval with little or no examination.”
Among the first witnesses invited to give evidence is tourism operator Innes Larkin from the Scenic Rim area who spent two years away from his business fighting coal seam gas related projects that should never have been on the table.
Mr Larkin will outline how CSG projects proposed for his unique World Heritage region would have contravened Australia’s international environmental obligations and were only stopped by a mammoth effort from the community.
“I will be telling the inquiry that the Federal Environment Minister should never delegate his powers to the states under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act especially when there are cross border issues involved such as the proposed gas pipeline that would have cut a swathe through the World Heritage listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia,” Mr Larkin said.
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