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


  • What can we do to change this? What is the action?


  • I agree Anthony! Feel pretty strongly that we cannot continue to sell off the farm. But who is listening! Where is a government with long term vision?


  • I was employed at the Department of Planning until very recently on a temporary contract. I was employed as a Senior Planning Officer in the Compliance & Post Approval team. When I spoke up about the approval of further coal mines and their impact upon climate change (through the burning of the coal that will come out of them) on an internal electronic forum, I was hauled into HR, reprimanded and later overlooked for a permanent job because, and I quote, “You have square-pegged, round-holed yourself”. I was told that I was not a good fit for the organisation because of my views on coal. This is the only reason I have been given by the Department for not getting an interview for the job I had been doing for 18 months. Under the Government Sector Employment Act 2013, (Part 2, Section 7, Government Sector Core Values), employees are supposed to be recruited and promoted on merit. The Department has clearly not complied with the Act in overlooking me for an interview because the decision was not merit based. I have a new job now but I am concerned about how this could happen to employees just because they care about the legacy we are leaving behind and the impact we are having on the world’s climate.

    I used to baulk at people who said that the Department is in bed with big coal… but now I know that it is absolutely true. Coal has corrupted the State Government to the point where an employee cannot even start a discussion on an internal e-forum to try and get a conversation going about what we are going to do about the problem of our reliability on coal. I honestly fear for our future.


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