Government supports ICAC mining recommendations

The NSW government has thrown its support behind all of the recommendations made by the corruption watchdog into how coal mining licences are managed across the state.


Following two inquiries into the allocation of mining licences which ensnared former Labor MPs Ian Macdonald and Eddie Obeid, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) handed down a report saying corruption was “easy to do” due to systemic weaknesses in the licensing process.

Premier Barry O’Farrell told parliament on Thursday that the implementation of the ICAC’s recommendations was important for restoring public confidence.

“The recommendations … go a long way to ensuring the sort of corruption in the handling of mining licences exposed by ICAC will never occur again,” he said.

All 26 recommendations have either been fully backed by the government or been given “in principle” support.

Among them was the recommendation that the government uses auctions as the primary method of allotting licences.

They have also supported the move to hold an inquiry into how members disclose family member’s interests, with the view to making third-party disclosures a requirement.

The premier has also said he will review the code of conduct for ministers.

The recommendations follow ICAC operations Jasper and Acacia, which made a variety of corrupt findings.

Operation Jasper found former Labor mining minister Ian Macdonald rigged a 2008 tender process and granted a coal mining exploration licence on land belonging to former Labor power broker Eddie Obeid and his family in the Bylong Valley.

The licence enabled the Obeids to net $30 million, with the prospect of making an extra $70 million.

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