Sunday, 14 August 2016

Once again the NSW Baird Government fails to protect local communities and the public interest

Newcastle Herald Sun, 9 August 2016:

A KOREAN mining company prosecuted for using false photographs to support a Bylong Valley mine application has “got away with lying” after the NSW Government dropped a prosecution under the Mining Act, Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said.

Mr Buckingham condemned the government for allowing resources giant KEPCO and consultant Worley Parsons to agree to an “enforceable undertaking”, rather than face prosecution and a possible $110,000 fine.

The companies were charged after Bylong man Craig Shaw said photos of his property provided by KEPCO to support drilling sites showed flat paddocks rather than the actual rocky, steep terrain.

“Minister (Anthony) Roberts has essentially let this company get away with a lie and undermined the Mining Act,” Mr Buckingham said.
“This sets a terrible precedent for compliance and enforcement of the Mining Act and has undermined any deterrence effect. The government had already approved this drilling project and it was only diligent landholders who picked up the deception in the application.
“At a time where the Baird government is ramping up penalties against people protesting mining, they are letting mining companies off the hook for outright deception. Minister Roberts needs to explain this double standard.”

Mr Shaw said he was extremely disappointed with the decision that allowed the department to avoid a prosecution. He was also disappointed with how the matter was handled after he raised the complaint, saying he was not formally advised of the decision to accept an enforceable undertaking, despite assisting the department with its investigation.

“These companies have been let off the hook. They have deliberately broken the law, but they will not be punished. KEPCO are free to continue with their plans to turn the spectacular and unique Bylong Valley into a mining complex,” Mr Shaw said.

Lock the Gate Hunter coordinator Steve Phillips said the decision was “a shameful abdication of duty by the NSW Government, but why would KEPCO feel the need to tell the truth when there is no punishment for lying?”

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