18.6 C
Byron Shire
December 6, 2021

Mining-industry consultation ‘a sham’

Latest News

Cadwallader, Lyon and Krieg most likely new Far North Coast mayors

With most of the votes cast, and counting over until tomorrow, the New South Wales Electoral Commission stats would suggest that there are three clear winners of the mayoral contests in Ballina, Byron and Lismore Shires.

Other News

Fake Greens

This is a strange election. Michael Lyon, Jeanette Martin (and retired Simon Richardson) all rode the Greens ticket to get...

Election week sees Vanessa Ekins doing her blocky

Enjoying a few precious minutes break in an election week is a real luxury and Lismore mayoral candidate and current Mayor Vanessa Ekins managed to fit an Echo interview in between her TAFE Auslan course and the pre-poll station on Woodlark Street.

Lismore airport supported by community?

I am writing in response to your article, ‘Lismore airport supported by community’. First of all, the Lismore airport is...

Fatal crash – Alstonville

A man has died following a crash in Alsonville yesterday.

Outgoing Ballina independent speaks out against Dunoon Dam campaign

Outgoing independent Cr Sharon Parry has seldom contacted The Echo during her time on the council but says she felt honour bound this week.

Lismore Council elections

I’m somewhat bemused by the candidates for the Lismore Council election. One ticket has 14 candidates, when there are...

Planning Assessment Commission member Garry West sits on mining community consultative committees, pictured at a PAC hearing in the Tweed recently.
Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) member Garry West sits on four government-appointed community consultative committees for coal mining projects yet his remuneration has been kept secret. He is pictured here during a recent PAC hearing in the Tweed.

A  call has been made to scrap the NSW government’s regulations on how mining companies consult with communities after it was revealed one woman was employed as the independent chair of 15 different community consultative committees (CCC)  by seven different mining companies, and her payments have not been disclosed.

The Greens have also revealed that the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) and current Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) member Garry West, a former Nationals MP and former mining minister, chairs four CCCs for undisclosed sums.

Greens NSW spokesperson on mining, Jeremy Buckingham, has called on the government to reform the regulations around mining CCCs, saying the Department of Planning Guidelines for CCCs made it clear that payments to the ‘independent chair’ should be disclosed on the website:

Mr West chairs the Integra Vale, Ulan coal, Moorlaben coal, and the BHP Caroona CCCs for undisclosed sums.

The guidleines state that ‘if such fees or expenses are paid, then the company should indicate that this is occurring on the company’s website, so that the broader community remains fully informed.’

Mr Buckingham said ‘‘I cannot find a single instance where a resource company has publicly declared the payments to the ‘independent chair’ of their CCC.

‘These companies are in breach of the planning department’s rules,’ he said

‘Undeclared payments directly from the mining company undermine the independence of the chair and the community’s confidence in the CCC.

‘The current system means that the community often perceives the “independent chair” as simply a stooge of the mining company.

‘The regulations should be changed so that the “independent chair” is appointed and paid by the government, not by the mining companies.   The chair’s payment should be publicly disclosed by the government.

‘The Greens want reform of the CCCs because communities have lost all faith in them and see them more as a facade on consultation that simply does the companies bidding and ties up the community.

‘It’s an outrageous conflict of interest that former Nationals MP Garry West can be paid by coal companies to chair CCCs, and then also have a role as a decision maker with the PAC and JRPP.

‘Garry West is notoriously pro-coal and was on the PAC that approved the controversial Maules Creek coal mine.

‘The government must clean up with part of the mining sector.  The people of NSW are sick of corruption and cronyism. The Greens will continue our push for clean politics,’ he said.

 


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Why are we not surprised. Everything about this industry’s licensing is dodgy. All associated licenses approved should be repealed, lest the government proves itself utterly corrupt (also unsurprising).

    Before preaching to we, the people, about the need to behave decently, despite the rampant lack of democracy, foresight, and duty of care, oh, and common decency, the powers that be had best clean up their own act. Something is foul in the state of NSW, and then some!

  2. Is the gold mining indusrty also paid by the mine sometimes, thus ignoring pecuniary interest obligations? Can one raise this without being sued or expelled from mine-community meetings?

  3. Problem: a major project is in abeyance. Past employees need not disclose any personal interest ,even if they have worked for or hope to work for the project. Ditto close relatives. Now they are not employed. What is the legal position re disclosure, then?

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Growing number of dogs

Thanks to Alison Drover for her informative article in last week’s Echo regarding the growing number of dogs in the Shire to be managed...

Responsible dog owner

I read with interest Alison Drover’s article on dog management and the follow up letters last week, and I couldn’t agree more. I am indifferent...

Dogs need control

I agree with Alison Drover’s recent article and her final line ‘wildlife needs more love, and our dog owners need a tighter lead’. But the...

COVID update December 3: One new case and advice for international travellers

One new case of COVID-19 was reported for Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) in the 24 hours to 8pm 2 December. Northern NSW Local...