PUP inquiry finds review needed into Newman govt decisions
A SENATE inquiry has called on the Queensland Government to remodel its Crime and Corruption Commission on the powerful New South Wales ICAC and urged a series of reviews of Newman government-era decisions.
The Palmer United Party-led inquiry examined coal seam gas and mining approvals, environmental issues and allegations of conflicts of interest made by witnesses over several months.
In its report released on Friday, the inquiry made 20 recommendations mainly to the state government, which is not technically bound to act on the recommendations.
The recommendations included a moratorium on new CSG approvals in the state until an investigation could be completed into the health and environmental impacts of CSG operations near Tara and Chinchilla.
It also urged the state to impose an outright ban on "fracking" and review the operation of the Gasfields Commission, the Environment Department and a sand-mining lease on Stradbroke Island.
Led by Senator Glenn Lazarus, The Greens and Labor senators, the committee also recommended the state review all mining decision made under the Newman government where environmental laws "may have been ignored" or where "potential conflicts of interest" or political donations "were involved in some way".
The committee examined some issues associated with developments at Gladstone, but hearings scheduled in the central Queensland city were cancelled during the inquiry.
The report also called for a Royal Commission into the human health impacts of CSG extraction, and for the delegation of federal environmental approvals to Queensland to be overturned, which the Federal Government is unlikely to act on.
A dissenting report from the only government senator involved, Queensland Senator Ian Macdonald, said the inquiry lacked "even basic credibility, and does not warrant the waste of any further of the Senate's time".
Sen Macdonald made only two recommendations, that a full analysis of the cost of the inquiry be given to the Senate, and the report "be consigned to the scrapheap".
The current state government also this week introduced new legislation, in line with its election pledges, to reform the political donations system and Crime and Corruption Commission.
Comment was sought from Premier Annastacia Palaszczcuk and Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg.