Mining corruption claims misleading, Cripps says

QLD mining minister Andrew Cripps has slammed claims that the Queensland Resources Council said a new bidding system for coal and gas is open to 'corruption'.

Cripps explained that there is the belief the new 'competitive cash bidding system' for prospective coal and gas land may be open to bribery.

It comes after the Queensland Resources Council put in a submission detailing its views on the current change to the tender process and the implementation of a cash tender process.

“The Newman Government is proposing a competitive cash tender process for the allocation of exploration rights for some of Queensland’s best coal and petroleum and gas reserves,” Cripps said.

“Companies will still have to prove they have the capacity to develop the resources in a timely fashion, and will need to demonstrate their commitment by participating in a cash bidding process for that land. 

“The system will ensure all Queenslanders enjoy a financial return from the development of the state’s most valuable resource areas and will discourage the past practice of companies ‘warehousing’ tenure.”

However speaking to the Queensland Resources Council, they claim they never made the statement.
"No where in our submission did we allege corruption," a QRC spokesperson told Australian Mining.

The mining lobby group says that it warns of the potential of a 'moral hazard' similar in vein to the issues of payment for tenements that NSW is facing.

"As QRC has outlined a number of times, the industry does not support a cash bidding process for exploration tenures. Accepting payments for tenure generates moral hazard, compromising the government's ability to be seen to impartially regulate these projects.

"QRC watched the former NSW Labor government implement a similar cash bidding process which has generated communtiy concern that explroation rights are 'for sale' to the highest bidder.

"QRC understands that the normal tenture approval process would still be applied, whereby the proponent must prove its ability and capacity to meet its work prgoram commitments however introducing cash bidding in NSW undermined community confidence in the government's role as the steward of the State's resources."

Cripps dismissed this, stating that he was disappointed of the link between the NSW system and the one it is pushing into Queensland.

"The QRC isn’t telling you that the Queensland model prevents the mines minister of the day from having any influence whatsoeveover the tender process, and will involve the appointment of an external independent probity adviser.

“Importantly, our model will not allow for the minister to directly allocate tenure as is the case in NSW.
“The rights to explore highly prospective coal and petroleum and gas tenure will be allocated through an open, transparent and competitive process with no political interference.”

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