Queensland’s police minister has defended a decision to allow a gas and oil mining firm to sponsor a road safety campaign and display their logo on police vehicles.
Anti-coal seam gas group Lock the Gate posted photos on social media at the weekend of two police vehicles displaying the name of mining firm Santos, which runs a large chunk of the state’s gas wells.
The ute and motorhome are used to promote a Stay on Track Outback safety campaign and the vehicles also display police signs along with logos from other companies.
A press release sent by police late last month said Santos generously sponsored the campaign, which highlights the unique hazards of driving on Outback roads.
Queensland Police Minister Jack Dempsey says other emergency services have sponsorship deals and police have partnered with other firms on many campaigns over the years.
‘This particular project in relation to the vans, I’ve witnessed them a number of times and congratulate the officers for their entrepreneurism for being able to ensure that road users… are kept safer,’ he told media in Brisbane on Monday.
‘Look, it’s part of a partnership right across the board whether it be from all of us sponsoring people… from MRMA to Rio Tinto to Suncorp to Rotary Clubs to Lions Clubs.’
A spokesman from Mr Dempsey’s office said the vehicles aren’t used for normal police operations.
Lock the Gate expressed concern about the sponsorship deal on Twitter, pointing out there could be a conflict of interest.
‘Yep, it seems that Santos is sponsoring the Qld Police #QldInc. Nothing odd about that! coff (sic),” one Tweet said.
While No CSG Coonabarabran wrote: ‘What will happen when “sponsored” police show against local rural communities protecting their home? #santosgate #csg’.