O’Farrell pulls plans for the Mt Penny mine on ICAC advice

Premier Barry O'Farrell has this afternoon announced action will be taken to stop the Mt Penny mine going ahead.

The Mt Penny site is located on top of Eddie Obeid's farm, and is currently being investigated by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

O’Farrell announced that cabinet had decided the development application for Mt Penny would now involve a broader “public interest test” which would look at the allegations of corrupt conduct before the ICAC, the Herald Sun reported.

A move which is likely to see the project be rejected.

Last year the state planning department announced the licence holder Cascade Coal would have to resubmit the development application for the Mt Penny site as unresolved environmental assessment issues remain.

According to the Herald Sun government sources have indicated the move to apply the public interest test should mean the project never goes ahead.

Today’s announcement comes as O'Farrell last night received advice from ICAC commissioner David Ipp as to whether or not he should suspend or cancel controversial mining licences granted by the former mining minister Ian Macdonald in 2008.

The information received prompted O’Farrell to call a special cabinet meeting for 1:30pm today to discuss the advice ahead of Question Time.

An ICAC spokeswoman confirmed Commissioner David Ipp sent his response to O’Farrell last night.

Earlier this month, the premier wrote to Ipp asking whether there should be any amendments to the mining act and if the government should mount legal proceedings against individuals or companies involved in the suspect deals currently being investigated by ICAC.

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