Greens welcome public interest test to cancel mining licences

MEDIA RELEASE – 21 November 2013

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham welcomed the intervention of Premier O’Farrell who introduced legislation to insert a ‘public interest test’ into the mining and petroleum acts to enhance the power of the minister to cancel or not renew a mining or petroleum licence.Coal mine vertical

“The Greens welcome the Premier’s intervention to ensure governments can take action in the public interest when it comes to mining and gas licences,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“The mining licences granted under former Minister Macdonald and investigated by ICAC will be likely candidates for cancellation; however, the new public interest test will also potentially apply to other licences.

“The current Acts grant the minister a lot of power to grant licences, but lacks substantial powers to undo mistakes or inappropriate grants of licences – so this new and broad public interest test is a very welcome reform.

“The Greens have called for a review of other licences granted by the former Labor government, and particularly former ministers Obeid and Macdonald.  For example, the Obeid associated mining company ‘Monaro Mining NL’ was granted three other coal exploration licences during the tender process that granted the now infamous Mt Penny exploration licence.

“It is a pity that the public interest did not seem to be a factor when Resources Minister Chris Hartcher renewed 22 petroleum licences in September 2012.  The almost automatic renewal of licences deeply disturbed many communities who believed the initial grant by Labor was inappropriate,” said Mr Buckingham.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916

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