The Mining Amendment (ICAC Operations Jasper and Acacia) Act 2014 was assented to on 31 January 2014. The legislation cancelled certain explorations licences which were awarded under suspicious circumstances and under findings of corruption.
In December 2013 the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) released its report setting out what action the Government should take in relation to earlier findings that Mr Ian Macdonald (who was at the time the Minister for mineral resources) engaged in and allowed corruption to taint the grant of an exploration licence over land at Boyle’s Creek. The corruption had also involved the Honourable Edward Obeid Senior, Moses Obeid and others relating to exploration licences in areas known as Mount Penny, Glendon Brook and Yarrawa.
Since the licences were tainted by corruption, ICAC recommended the state government should consider cancelling them.
While considering ICAC’s report, the NSW Government was clear that it can and should form its own view about what action to take. They ultimately considered that the relevant licences should be cancelled and accordingly, on 30 January 2014, they introduced the Mining
Amendment (ICAC Operations Jasper and Acacia) Bill 2014 providing for the cancellation of the licences. While recognising that in cancelling the licences common law rights will be affected and property rights will be extinguished they considered it inappropriate for compensation to be paid given the corruption element involved.
The core purpose of the legislation is to restore public confidence in the allocation of the State’s valuable mining resources and to promote integrity in public administration above all other considerations.