The Lock the Gate Alliance has today backed calls for public funding of election campaigns and an immediate ban on political donations from coal and gas mining companies.
Today ICAC will hear evidence in relation to the Kores Wallarah 2 coal mine, which has been caught up in the scandal surrounding Nick di Girolamo and former Mineral Resources Minister Chris Hartcher.
Lock the Gate Hunter Coordinator, Steve Phillips, said, “It is clear that the donation reforms of the last four years have not stopped the rot in NSW, and we are in no doubt that for as long as political donations are allowed, unscrupulous business people will try and find ways to dodge the rules.
“It is clear that the ban on donations from property developers has been subverted by the NSW Liberal Party and this has led to the ICAC inquiry that is currently underway.
“However, other industries, like the mining industry, are still free to make political donations and influence politics behind closed doors.
“This creates a form of 'legalised' influence peddling that leads to coal and gas mining companies getting what they want from our governments.
“The public can have no confidence that a Minister under pressure to raise money for his or her party is not conscious, when meeting with companies such as Santos or BHP, of the cash the party gets from them.”
“The damage being wrought by coal and gas companies on water, farmland and rural communities, and the huge profits they make, means they should join tobacco, gambling and property developers in the list of toxic influencers and have all donations banned.
“The wretched history of coal mining corruption in NSW, at places such as Mt Penny and Doyles Creek, looks set to have another chapter added today as ICAC hears evidence in relation to the Wallarah 2 mine.
“That's why tinkering around the edges with political donations reform is not enough. Nothing short of root and branch reform will restore the broken trust of the people of NSW.
“Today we are adding our support for calls by Premier Mike Baird for full public funding of elections, and we are also calling for an immediate ban on donations from mining companies while those broader reforms are implemented.”
For background on the Wallarah 2 coal mine proposal and its links to the ICAC's Operation Spicer click here.