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HTBA Calling for Inquiry
23rd May 2012
Breednet - HTBA Media Release - Wednesday, 23 May 2012
The Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association has called for a Special Commission of Inquiry as a second Exploration Licence is referred by the NSW Government to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
The referral of the Ferndale Exploration Licence by the NSW Government to ICAC follows allegations made in the Sydney Morning Herald regarding the granting of this licence.
This ICAC referral follows the Government's commissioning of an investigation and report by Clayton Utz and the subsequent referral of the Nucoal Doyle's Creek licence to ICAC in December of last year.
"By the accounts we have read in the Clayton Utz report and this week's media reports, there seems to be something very seriously amiss here that requires a public investigation by a Special Commission of Inquiry” incoming Hunter Breeders President Cameron Collins said.
"The public deserves to know how these licences were issued, who stood to gain and at what cost to existing landholders, industries, our waterways and environment." Cameron Collins said.
The Nucoal and Ferndale Exploration Licences would impact on regional communities and landholders, thoroughbred breeding operations, our water systems and the Wollemi National Park.
"We already know from the Clayton Utz report that the former Government disregarded advice from officials on the Nucoal Exploration Licence. What advice was given to the former NSW Government in the cases of Ferndale and Mount Penny and what consideration was given to community concerns, established industries and the environment?" Cameron Collins said.
These exploration licences are not only the subject of quite serious allegations but they fall clearly within the key policy parameters of the NSW Government's Draft Strategic Regional Land Use Policy.
"Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders call on the Government to defer any decisions relating to any of these projects until the ICAC investigations or Special Commission of Inquiry is completed.” Cameron Collins said.
The community in the Hunter Valley is looking for signals from the Government that it is prepared to act to protect its prime agricultural lands, industries, water systems and national parks.