NSW crossbenchers Latham and Nile back compensation calls over scrapped mine deal

Key points:

  • Fred Nile and Mark Latham are pushing for investors to be compensated over a scrapped $94m mine deal
  • The MPs say blameless shareholders have been left out of pocket after the company’s licence was revoked
  • American shareholders are also planning to seek compensation, which followed an ICAC inquiry

Christian Democrats leader Fred Nile and NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham have gone into bat for a company stripped of mining exploration licence after a corruption probe.

NuCoal had its Doyles Creek licence revoked in 2014 after an Independent Commission Against Corruption probe found the process for granting the licence was tainted by corruption.

The allegations relate to a time before NuCoal acquired the Hunter Valley mine licence for $94 million in 2009.

Now Premier Gladys Berejiklian has agreed to reassess the decision, prompting Reverend Nile to announce that he will push for some form of mediation.

“It is up to the government as to what they do and I gather there has been some sympathy there and that there should have been compensation,” Rev. Nile said.

“I am hoping to be able to put something up as a notice of motion on Wednesday this week.

“It would be for the Parliament to look at it as to how compensation can be worked out.

“My proposal would be an independent person appointed, probably a retired judge who could be given all the facts and examine it and see what compensation should be paid.”

MPs say blameless shareholders ripped off

New South Wales One Nation Upper House MP Mark Latham said the treatment of the shareholders had been appalling.

“I’m determined to use the balance of power we have to say to the Berejiklian government to right this wrong and that you have got to correct the way the mum and dad investors were ripped off,” Mr Latham said.

“It was hasty and wrong legislation and these mum and dad investors deserve compensation for the things they have lost, it is a simple question of justice.”

Rev Nile said mum and dad shareholders had been left high and dry.

“Obviously they are not involved in any corruption, it is all separate but sometimes things get a bit blurred,” he said.

“I always look to represent what I call minority groups and groups that are suffering, and that certainly is a group that has been overlooked.”

The crossbenchers said they had signed a document acknowledging that 3,400 NuCoal Resources shareholders were “unfairly and unreasonably dispossessed of their investments” by special legislation enacted by the New South Wales Parliament.

NuCoal’s American shareholders have plans to pursue compensation under the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement over the licence cancellation.

Giselle Wakatama
ABC Newcastle

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