New Hope Group GM says he has no influence over Qld Liberals

Keen to distance itself from scandalous revelations about QCoal’s links to the LNP last week, New Hope Group's executive general manager said the company is operating completely above board in the lead up to a Queensland government decision on the future the New Acland site.

However, last week the ABC revealed that New Hope Group and it's parent company, Washington H Soul Pattinson have donated more than $700,000 to the LNP over a three year period, including a single donation of $250,000.

Links between mining company QCoal and the LNP were brought to light last week when it was reported the head of QCoal's corporate affairs team, James Mackay, was also in charge of environmental policy for the LNP, and had worked full time for the LNP during their 2012 election campaign.

New Hope’s Jim Randell said in an interview with the Toowoomba Chronicle that there was a lot on the line ahead of the Co-ordinator General's analysis of a stage three expansion plan.

"(There are) 300 employees directly, about $9 billion worth of investment over the next 20 years and certainly a large amount of injection of funds into the local community in terms of contractors and suppliers and then just general community support that we do around the area," Randell said.

Randell said the nature of applying for a mining extension meant the company was in contact with "a lot of political people" but not for the purpose of influencing their decisions.

"That doesn't mean we try to influence them, it's more about giving them information," he said.

"It's really about providing information rather than trying to exert influence or pressure.

"I think from our point of view we are very keen to stay within the laws of the land.

"We like to see ourselves abiding by the laws and in many cases going better than the laws.

"We have no interest in breaking laws in order to get an outcome."

Mr Randell said as far as he knew, there was nobody who worked for the government while working for New Hope Group.

"As far as I know, even to board level, we don't have anybody along those lines."

A Queensland government spokeswoman confirmed to the Toowoomba Chronicle that they did not have any employees who were on the payroll of New Hope Group.

"Staff employed in ministerial offices must ensure their private interests do not conflict with the discharge of their official duties," the spokeswoman said.

She said ministerial staff members are required to submit a declaration of interests form to their minister within one month of beginning employment, within one month of the change of minister, and if there is any change to a staff member's interests.

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