Greenpeace calls on Premier Newman to dump Seeney over Rinehart mine debacle

Press release - 31 May, 2012
1st June 2012: Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney is likely to be forced into an embarrassing back down this afternoon after revelations of ineptitude and political interference in the environmental assessment of Gina Rinehart’s Alpha coal project in the Galilee Basin.

On Tuesday 29th May, the Queensland Co-ordinator General released their recommendation that the mine be approved subject to conditions. However, a leaked document from the Queensland Co-ordinator General’s department to the Federal Environment Department on 25th May revealed that “we [QLD Co-ordinator General] still seem to be a long way short of what you are looking for.”

The same email said “I expect that Hancock will be lobbying heavily to obtain their approval from you once our Report is finalised; they have had a direct line to the new government and the Coordinator-General here”.

“This email has raised very serious concerns over the rigour and independence of the environmental assessment under the new Queensland LNP Government – particularly in relation to this project,” said Greenpeace campaigner John Hepburn.

“We are concerned that it is being rushed through the regulatory process without proper scrutiny due to political interference by the proponent.”

“Jeff Seeney doesn’t seem to realise the difference between being in opposition and being in Government,” Greenpeace campaigner John Hepburn said today. “He actually has a responsibility to comply with legislation – he can’t just make it up as he goes.”

“Mr Seeney has demonstrated that he is incapable of taking an independent, responsible approach to the assessment of mining projects.”

Greenpeace expects Mr Seeney will be forced into an embarrassing back down this afternoon and call on Campbell Newman to stand Mr Seeney down as Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning.

“It should go without saying that we commend Minister Burke for performing his duty as a responsible Minister and complying with the law, Queenslanders can at least be reassured by Minister Burke’s vigilance,” concluded Hepburn.

For further comment contact

Greenpeace Campaigner, John Hepburn: 0407 231 172
Greenpeace Media Officer, Julie Macken: 0400 925 217