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ICAC to hear of mining lobby’s undue influence as Planning Minister moves to abolish IPC

The ICAC’s Operation Eclipse, which is examining lobbying and influence in NSW, will today hear evidence about the undue negative influence of the mining industry.

The hearing comes just as a clandestine review is launched by the Planning Minister to deliver a key mining industry demand to abolish the Independent Planning Commission.

Today, the CEO of the NSW Minerals Council, Stephen Galilee and NSW Coordinator of Lock the Gate Alliance, Georgina Woods will appear at a hearing for Operation Eclipse. The Chair of the Independent Planning Commission, Mary O’Kane, is scheduled to appear on Tuesday.

On Saturday, the Planning Minister announced that a review had been established into whether it is in the public interest for the Independent Planning Commission to continue determining state significant developments, notably coal mines.

The review comes after four weeks of advertising and media pressure by the NSW Minerals Council following the IPC’s decision to refuse approval to a coal mine on strategic agricultural land in the Bylong Valley.

Ms Woods said, “The evidence we are giving the ICAC shows a pattern of undue negative influence being exerted over the NSW Government by the mining industry which is being repeated right now as the Planning Minister accedes to the coal lobby’s demands to abolish the IPC or bring it to heel.

“The Minerals Council wants the IPC abolished precisely because it is independent. It can’t be lobbied. Its brief is to make decisions based on evidence and unlike the Minister and the Department of Planning, it operates transparently.

“The ICAC needs to bring sunlight to the clandestine influence the coal lobby is wielding over Government in New South Wales.”

The Operation Eclipse hearing begins at 9:30 (AEDT) and will be webcast here:

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