There is a stoush brewing in New South Wales with the chairman of the Sydney Mining Club Julian Malnic calling for the abolishment of the state’s Independent Planning Commission (IPC).

He claimed the most recent decision to reject the proposed Bylong coal mine proposal near Mudgee, has highlighted the IPC’s apparent bias against new coal mines in the state.

“The IPC countermanded the will of 14 government departments and agencies that had done their work and had already given the green light,” Malnic said.

“The loser, 51 per cent Korean government-owned Kepco limited has seen its $750m investment wiped off the map, essentially on an IPC policy whim.”

The IPC had made its decision on the basis of “Scope 3 emissions”, which are all indirect emissions that occur in the value chain of the reporting company, in South Korea where the coal would have been used.

“Shockingly, the IPC dropped the blade only after nine years of hope, planning and $750m in expenditure. It could have told Kepco it was wasting its time at the start,” Malnic added.

He rubbished the idea that banning the project would be an example for the world, saying that South Korea would simply shop elsewhere for coal and that the people of the Mudgee-Kandos district will pay the main economic price.

Malnic also questioned how the 37 members of the IPC were selected, saying that nearly all of them had been public servants and academics while just one was a director of a couple of unknown resources companies.

“There is no sign that any has started a business nor appreciates business risk. The one member who has operated a coal mine, was not chosen for the Bylong determination,” he added.

However, Malnic reserved his particular ire for IPC chair Mary O’Kane, claiming that as the former chair of the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy, her “enthusiasm for coal would presumably be right up there with the cane toad’s love for fast moving trucks”.

He noted that the Kepco decision had led the NSW government to launch a major review and that there would never be a time to abolish the IPC, which he described as an “unelected band of runaway destroyers of NSW mining”.

“Minister Stokes and Premier Berejiklian should resume the right of elected officials to make decisions,” Malnic said.

“History tells us richly that we must never let any administration or government escape the account of the people. And yet that is precisely what has happened with the IPC, experts who decide instead of advising.

“Tinkering or reappointing can’t fix the IPC. The Berejiklian government should use the Kepco system failure to totally abolish the IPC and send out a simple message: that politicians are straight; government agencies are effective; and that the people deserve the benefits and revenue flowing from state-building projects.”

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