Friday, 9 May 2014

Wondering why Metgasco Limited hasn't been mentioned during NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption hearings in April-May 2014?

So many Liberal Party donors and so many companies are receiving a mention almost in passing at the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Operation Credo and Operation Spicer hearings, that the twitterverse could almost be forgiven for starting to wonder about the role of some of those not mentioned but of interest because of their history of interaction with government.

However, coal seam gas and tight sands mining company Metgasco Limited didn’t need to spend big on political donations to the Liberal and National parties in order to progress its commercial interests in New South Wales – it made sure it was very well-connected in another manner.

In 2011 it employed Richard Shields as an in-house lobbyist:

Richard Shields - External Relations Manager
Richard has extensive knowledge and experience in politics, having worked for almost 20 years in senior government, party related and private sector roles. He understands the challenges and complexities of the legislative and regulatory processes of government, in addition to having a strong insight into managing media and community relations.
Prior to joining Metgasco, Richard served as Deputy Director of the Liberal Party of Australia (NSW Division) for over 3 years and also served as the Interim State Director. Other positions held by Richard include a Policy Adviser to former Senator the Hon Helen Coonan as Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts.
Richard has also worked as a Senior Cnsultant [sic] for two of Australia's largest issues management firms. Drawing on his strong media and stakeholder manageent [sic] skills, Richard advises the Managing Director and Board on issues management, communications and engagement strategies and investor relations…… [Metgasco Limited website on 10 June 2013]

The External Relations Manager is a head of function role reporting to the CEO and is member of the Executive team. Broadly, the role of the External Relations Manager is to develop and implement Metgasco’s approach to Government Relations, Community and Media management and Investor Relations…..

[Richard Shields’ cached Linkedin profile]

Richard may have left Metgasco but the connections he forged for the mining company are apparently still holding firm, as the second (albeit acting) NSW Coalition Government Police Minister in a row appears to back this miner:

The first, Mike Gallacher - now a subject in the ICAC Operation Spicer investigation – was police minister when this occurred:

The Northern Star 6 November 2013

Letters from Metgasco Limited CEO Peter Henderson to NSW Government Ministers between December 2012 and Feb...

With a third NSW Police Minister, Stuart Aryes, appointed this week it will be interesting to see how he reacts to Metgasco Limited's demands of government.

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