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Mining donations “as insidious as tobacco, gambling and developers”

The Lock the Gate Alliance has used a submission to the Premier’s Panel of Experts on political donations reform to call for an immediate prohibition on donations by mining companies and their public relations and lobbying firms.

The Alliance likened the damage and influence of the mining industry to that of property developers, tobacco, gambling and liquor companies, who are already prohibited donors in New South Wales.

“We are now in the donations ‘Danger Zone’, just six months out from a State election, and we need immediate action to ban political donations from the mining industry and their lobbyists” said George Woods, Coordinator with Lock the Gate Alliance.

"Over the last two years ICAC has established beyond a doubt that the mining industry is a corrupting influence on our democracy, and we can see no reason to wait until after the next election for action, as is currently proposed by the Premier.

"Our member groups have experienced first-hand the improper influence of the mining industry on New South Wales political and planning decisions. We have seen the extraordinary access the industry has to politicians and the revolving door between government and mining companies.

"The mining industry regularly get laws changed in their favour on demand and they get the planning approvals they want, in the teeth of long-suffering local communities. The undue power of the mining industry in this state has to be checked in the interests of protecting our land and water.”

Lock the Gate’s submission to the expert panel also identified the extensive donations made by firms who lobby for mining companies, and calculated a total of over $600,000 in donations from miners and lobbyists in the lead up to, and immediately following, the 2011 NSW election.

“Mining company donations are as insidious as donations from tobacco, gambling and developers, and their influence through lobbyists and public relations firms has been exposed at ICAC and beyond as a major impediment to fair and proper process in NSW.

"It is not just political donations that need to be reined in to clean up the mining industry in NSW. We also need root and branch reform of planning laws and the full and immediate implementation of ICAC recommendations on lobbyists and coal exploration processes” she said.

Lock the Gate's submission is available here.

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