AUSTRALIAN MINING GIANT FORCED TO REVEAL DEALINGS WITH POLITICAL PARTY

Brendan Grylls forced

to reveal Palmer dealings

January 26, 2011 – 11:07AM
CCC urged to probe email trail between Clive Palmer and Nationals leader Brendon Grylls.
CCC urged to probe email trail between Clive Palmer and Nationals leader Brendon Grylls.

The West Australian Information Commissioner has ordered Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls to release information about his dealings with mining magnate Clive Palmer.

For months the WA opposition has pursued the government over why Mr Palmer’s company Mineralogy was not forced to pay a $45 million bond for the project in the Pilbara.

In March last year opposition state development spokesman Mark McGowan applied under Freedom of Information for all documents to and from the minister’s office concerning Mineralogy and its chairman Mr Palmer, a National Party donor.

As a result Mr Grylls, the WA National Party leader, released 11 edited documents but refused to hand over a further 17 because he viewed them as outside the scope of Mr McGowan’s application.

The information commissioner found Mr Grylls’ decision was “deficient” because it did not give “details of the reasons for the refusal”.

“The notice given to the complainant only asserted that the 17 documents, to which access was refused, were exempt,” the finding stated.

“However, the material facts that is, the facts necessary to constitute the exemption claimed and references to the material on which the minister’s findings were based were not included in the notice.”

Following a search of an email account of a former staffer of Mr Grylls, the commissioner also found six additional documents relevant to the FOI application.

Mr Grylls will now be forced to reveal about 35 additional documents either partially or in full.

Although the minister and Mr Palmer can appeal the decision through the courts, Mr McGowan called on them to be open and transparent.

“Mr Grylls must now come clean and release the documents,” Mr McGowan said.

“While Mr Grylls and Professor Palmer can appeal this decision to the Supreme Court, I call on them to finally be open and accountable and release the documents.”

He said the decision to exempt Mineralogy from the paying the environmental bond had saved Mr Palmer $45 million and “brought into question the integrity of the state’s environmental approvals process”.

“Earlier documents released regarding this matter show that Mr Grylls was intimately involved in lobbying the environment minister and the premier’s office to assist Clive Palmer’s project,” he said.

AAP

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


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