Shenhua’s $500 million corrupts NSW
MEDIA RELEASE – 31 January 2015
The Greens NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today said the enormous success fees paid by Chinese Government owned coal mining company Shenhua, for its exploration licence and mining licence had corrupted NSW and led to the disastrous approval of the Watermark mine in the middle of Australia’s best agricultural area – the Liverpool Plains.
Shenhua was granted a mining exploration licence over the black soils of the Liverpool Plains by former Labor Mining Minister, Ian Macdonald after it paid $300 million to the NSW Government. Part of this ‘commercial agreement’ saw Shenhua agree to a further payment of $200 million on the grant of its mining licence.
“$500 million is a huge amount for just about anybody, except maybe the Chinese government,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.
“Clearly it influenced the decision to grant the exploration licence in the first place, and the Greens are concerned that this significant financial inducement led to a Land Use policy so weak that it has failed to stop mining in areas the Nationals promised to protect.
“All reasonable people would acknowledge such large sums of money on offer have placed pressure (whether conscious or unconscious) on both governments and bureaucrats to push this mine to fruition.
“There is little confidence in the community that the assessment process has been unbiased, particularly given serious and well-founded concerns by the community and the Gateway Panel have been brushed aside by the Department of Planning and then the PAC.
“The Strategic Regional Land Use Policy (SRLUP) was meant to protect areas like the Liverpool Plains from mining, yet loopholes were written in from the very beginning. This was deliberate and exposed by NSW Farmers Association and the Greens and we are now reaping, what the National Party has sown.
“For Kevin Anderson to now call for a review of the SRLUP, after the deed is done, is pathetic. Where was Kevin when it mattered? He knew the SRLUP would not protect the Liverpool Plains, yet he did nothing. He has betrayed his electors.”
Contact: Max Phillips – 0419 444 916