|Jeremy Buckingham in the Orara Valley|
16 November 2012
Greens mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham will move a motion in the Legislative Council calling on the O'Farrell Government to suspend the Eddie Obeid related Mt Penny coal licence because of the evidence tendered in ICAC and the uncertainty the mine proposal is causing for 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," said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.
"Given the evidence that has been presented to ICAC, 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 beautiful Bylong Valley have been fighting this coal mine for years because they want to keep their valley as good farming country. The allegations involved in the ICAC inquiry only increase their uncertainty.
"Premier O'Farrell can not 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.
"The Greens have put on the Legislative Council notice paper a motion calling on the government to suspend or cancel this tainted exploration licence," he said.
Jeremy Buckingham MLC
Notice of Motion
Re: ICAC hearings into the issuing of coal exploration licences
I give notice that on the next sitting day I will move:
1) That this house notes:
a) that the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is currently conducting public hearings into the circumstances surrounding the issuing of a coal exploration licence in the Bylong Valley to Cascade Coal;
b) the evidence presented in the hearings suggests the taxpayers of NSW has been massively short-changed by the issuing of this exploration licence for around $1million to Cascade Coal given its subsequent attempts to sell the licence for $500million;
c) the evidence presented in the hearings suggests a significant level of dishonesty in the bid process for the licence from persons with interests in those bids;
d) a speech by the Planning and Infrastructure Minister in the Legislative Assembly last month indicating that there were no grounds available to him as Planning Minister to suspend or terminate the current Cascade Coal application relating to their Mt Penny coal mine project;
e) that section 125 of the 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; and
2) That this house calls on the Government to:
a) to instruct the Energy and Resources Minister to investigate options for the suspension or termination of the exploration licences subject to the current ICAC inquiries and to release any legal advice obtained publically; and
b) if no legal avenues currently exist to suspend or terminate the licence to introduce legislation to the parliament to bring this into effect.