Shady mining donations under the spotlight

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Mining giants Nathan Tinkler and Santos are today facing scrutiny over some of their large donations to political and community entities.

The NSW Nationals are reported to have accepted $50,000 in donations from Tinkler before becoming aware the billionaire may be a prohibited donor under NSW laws.

Flagged in the party’s official political donations disclosure, the NSW Nationals told The Australian today they were assessing whether Tinkler’s donation needed investigating.

Under current state laws property developers are prohibited from making political donations.

The restrictions are set up to safeguard against the development of a ‘donations for decisions’ culture.

The Nationals said they became aware of Tinkler’s property interests only after cashing-in his donations but immediately referred the issue to the Election Funding Authority.

Organisers of the QLD Woodford Folk Festival are also in crisis talks with their members after criticism of Santos providing a $225,000 sponsorship for The Dreaming Festival.

The funding arrangement was struck 18 months ago and has angered members of coal seam gas activist group Lock the Gate.

Lock the Gate has been campaigning heavily against Santos, and says the company’s CSG developments violate the rights of landowners and pose risks to the environment.

The Dreaming festival provides a showcase of Aboriginal culture, and organisers say the event could not happen without the support of Santos.

Festival director Bill Hauritz told Sunshine Coast Daily the Santos donation came with no strings attached.

A spokesperson for Jinibara Nation, the traditional custodians of the Woodfordia site, said Santos had played a major positive role in many indigenous communities and had allowed The Dreaming festival to keep in operation.

Image: Herald Sun

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