Cancelling mining licences would be expensive, impossible: O’Farrell

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has said requests from the NSW opposition to suspend controversial mining and exploration licences would not be met.

The ALP and Greens have called on the government to scrap the licences, the granting of which is under investigation at the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Doing away with the licences would cost hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation, O’Farrell told Meet The Press yesterday, and the government doesn’t have the power to do this.

"We've taken internal and external legal advice. We don't have the power at this stage to take any action," O’Farrell said.

"So far these are just licenses … no money's being made out of these yet … but our advice is clear, we don't have the power to do what John Robertson is asking us to do, which is scrap those leases"

The ICAC inquiry is examining whether coal licences granted in 2008 by then-resources minister Ian Macdonald benefited then-MP Eddie Obeid. Hearings continue today.


Image: News Limited

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