Ian McDonald gave ‘hot property’ to mate

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Ian McDonald gave ‘hot property’ to mate

Amy Dale, Court Reporter
The Daily Telegraph
March 21, 2013 11:29AM

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Ian Macdonald

Former NSW Labor minister Ian Macdonald. Picture: Adam Taylor Source: The Daily Telegraph

DOYLE’S CREEK was “an $100 million mine” but none of that money went to the state because former minister Ian Macdonald signed it away without a competitive tender, a corruption inquiry has heard today.

ICAC is investigating the decision of the former resources minister to give the “hot property” Doyle’s Creek mining licence to his friend, the former CFMEU national president John Maitland, an a group of investors with no competitive, open tender.

Mr Macdonald allegedly decided to grant a direct allocation because Doyle’s Creek Mining wanted to have a training mine a the site, but this was a decision that went against department and industry advice.

The corruption inquiry has been told Mr Maitland made a profit of $15 million within three years, after an original outlay of $165,000. Other investors made similar windfalls.

Alan Coutts, the former deputy director general of the primary industries department, has given evidence about his opposition to Mr Maitland’s proposal.

Under cross examination from Mr Maitland’s barrister Jeremy Kirk, Mr Coutts said there were a number of objections to the idea, including that there wasn’t broad support from the mining interest off the safety council to have a training mine at that site.

“A colleague said to me that this is an $100 million mine,” Mr Coutts told the inquiry.

“Unless you put it out for competitive interest, how do we know what this mine is worth?”

Mr Coutts agreed that direction allocation on exploration licences can be done, but it “depends on the size of the resource and whether it required infrastructure.”

ICAC was told the feeling within the mining industry was “not very much in favour of a training mine…(operated) under the CFMEU.”

The inquiry continues.

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