ICAC hears former NSW minister Ian Macdonald duped mining industry

The Independent Commission Against Corruption’s inquiry into lucrative coal leases awarded by the former NSW mineral resources minister Ian Macdonald yesterday continued.

The former chief executive of the New South Wales Minerals Council, Nicole Williams told ICAC she had complained to Macdonald about his decision on a mining lease tender but never received a response, the Telegraph reported.

Williams stated MacDonald’s decision to only open the coal mining licence tender process to small and medium sized mining companies was not only “flawed” but “unprecedented”.

Williams wrote to Macdonald in September 2008 asking his decision to be reviewed because she said the feeling in the industry over the decision was one "of outrage".

"In our view, this type of government intervention goes beyond that which is required to encourage a diverse and competitive industry," the letter said.

"The size of the company should not be a relevant consideration."

She said she received no reply from the minister.

Launching investigations in November, ICAC has heard numerous allegations that Macdonald rorted the tender process so Labor power broker Eddie Obeid, his family, and associates would profit from leases granted in the Bylong Valley.

The inquiry continues.

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