10 March 2016

The Baird-Grant Government is pressing ahead with plans to lower fines against mining companies and others that break the law while it increases fines on protestors.

A Labor-led disallowance motion today against lower fines for mining companies was defeated in the Upper House by the Coalition.
Under proposals before the NSW Parliament, significant fines will be reduced to penalty notices.

For example, offences such as mining or prospecting without authority carrying a fine of at least $1 million could be downgraded to a penalty of just $5,000.

The laws will effectively let mining companies and other persons that do the wrong thing off the hook. Labor is concerned that the low penalties will undermine important environmental protections, public safety and the public safety, the public revenue and the license system.

It comes as the Baird-Grant Government seeks to curb peaceful and lawful protests in NSW – including on the North Coast, the Liverpool Plains, the Pillaga and the Southern Highlands.

Labor Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy, Adam Searle said:

“This legislation sends the wrong message to the community – that if you are big and powerful you get a slap on the wrist, but if you voice your opposition to these interests then the Government will throw the book at you.”

“The Baird-Grant Government wants new laws to crack down on people taking part in peaceful protest but it is also giving the green light for the big end of town to break the law.” “This Government is on the wrong side of the debate and the community will punish them for doing the wrong thing.”