Monday, 13 May 2013

What Murdoch University doesn't mention about one of its Senate members

This is what Murdoch University in West Australia states about Antonino Mario 'Tony' Iannello who has been an external member of its Senate since at least 2006:

Click on image to enlarge

What it does not say is that he has been a director of ERM Power Limited since July 2010 and is currently a shareholder in that company through what appears to be a family superannuation scheme.

ERM Power is the largest shareholder in Metgasco Limited, a coal seam gas exploration and mining company currently holding tenements on the NSW North Coast and operating without a social license from local communities.

ERM appears to have markedly increased its shares in Metgasco as part of a strategy to increase its slice of  the Australian east coast electricity supply market and with a view to taking advantage of conventional and coal seam gas production opportunities in New South Wales.

Given the widespread opposition to coal seam gas exploration and mining, it is no wonder Murdoch University does not have that association up on its web pages. Particularly as Tony Iannello is currently chair of the university's Resources Committee which has investment capability as part of its duties:

 a. Oversee the development of the University’s key strategy of building ‘wealth’ to support the University’s long term educational goals. 
b. Oversee the investment of all monies of the University (including monies held in trust). 
c. Exercise oversight of the finances of all University trusts and foundations. 

One has to wonder if Murdoch University itself is quietly investing in the coal seam gas industry, given the background of the committee chair.

One also has to wonder why Mr. Iannello, living in his plush WA suburban MacMansion with its pool and tennis court, would consider associating himself with a mining sector which has the potential to threaten water security, local economies, lifestyle and amenity in the far away Northern Rivers region of New South Wales.

Perhaps he considers ERM Power's directors fees too good to refuse?

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