Parliamentary push to suspend Mt Penny coal licence

THE New South Wales Greens will move a motion in parliament calling for the Mt Penny coal licence to be suspended because of evidence tendered to the independent corruption watchdog last week showing the approval did not follow required protocols.
Parliamentary push to suspend Mt Penny coal licence Parliamentary push to suspend Mt Penny coal licence Parliamentary push to suspend Mt Penny coal licence Parliamentary push to suspend Mt Penny coal licence Parliamentary push to suspend Mt Penny coal licence

Former Minister for Mineral and Forest Resources Ian Macdonald

Lou Caruana

Greens mining spokesman Jeremy Buckingham said he controversial licence approval by the former Labor minerals and energy minister Ian Macdonald -– which benefited party power broker Eddie Obeid – was creating uncertainty for nearby Bylong Valley residents.

"Section 125 of the NSW Mining Act allows for the cancellation or operational suspension of an exploration licence if the Energy and Resources Minister reasonably considers that the holder of the authority provided false or misleading information in or in connection with an application," Buckingham said.

"Given the evidence that has been presented to ICAC [Independent Commission Against Corruption], I believe the Minister for Energy and Resources, Chris Hartcher, has cause to believe that false and misleading information is associated with the licence application and that the whole process itself may have been corrupted.”

Residents of the Bylong Valley have been opposing the coal mine for years because they want to keep the valley for farming country, Buckingham said.

The allegations involved in the ICAC inquiry only increase their uncertainty.

"Premier O'Farrell cannot just allow the exploration licence to continue along with the planning application as if the government is oblivious to the major revelations made at ICAC. It's time for Barry O'Farrell to give local residents some protection and certainty,” Buckingham said.

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