Call for inquiry as Resources Minister quits
ANTI coal seam gas activists on the Northern Rivers are calling for a "broad-ranging inquiry" into the management of CSG mining in NSW following today's' shock resignation of Natural Resources Minister Chris Hartcher.
The minister handed in his resignation to Premier Barry O'Farrell this morning.
In a statement he said his resignation followed the issue of a search warrant by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
"I am confident I will be cleared of any wrongdoing," he said.
"This is the first contact I have had with the ICAC and given that their investigations have thus far had an unknown timeframe, it is appropriate that I resign."
Campaign coordinator with Lismore-based Lock the Gate Alliance, Carmel Flint, said the community had "lost all faith in the integrity of the ministers who control mining in this state".
"The community can no longer trust the NSW Government to put the interests of the wider public ahead of the profit-driven agenda of mining companies," she said.
"Even though we understand today's actions by the ICAC are not directly related to coal or gas mining, if Mr Hartcher is found to have acted corruptly, it means that once again, mining in this state has been overseen by someone that does not uphold the highest standard of integrity and cannot be trusted to act in the public interest."
Ms Flint said a comprehensive inquiry into the management of coal and gas resources in NSW was needed.
In a statement, Premier Barry O'Farrell said Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts would be appointed Acting Resources and Energy Minister and Special Minister of State.
Penrith MP Stuart Ayres would be promoted to the ministry to fill Mr Hartcher's spot with details on portfolios expected to be announced when he was sworn in on Monday.