NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell declined to say if mining industry lobbying was a factor in EDO funding cuts.
NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell declined to say if mining industry lobbying was a factor in EDO funding cuts.

Mining industry lobbied for EDO funding cutback

THE mining industry may have been behind a move to scrap funding to the NSW Environmental Defenders Office which has resulted in job losses within the organisation.

Documents released to Fairfax Media under freedom of information laws show the NSW Minerals Council and the Australian Coal Association lobbied the Premier to cancel the EDO's $2.5 million annual public subsidy.

The EDO was notified last Friday that its funding would continue until June 30 but at 27 per cent less than previous levels.

The loss of funding means the EDO have has to axe three full-time jobs, including one position from the Lismore office.

In a letter to Mr O'Farrell, dated October 9, the Minerals Council's chief executive, Stephen Galilee, blasted the EDO for its support for a "deliberate campaign of economic sabotage" against the coal industry.

In his letter, Mr Galilee told Mr O'Farrell: "It is difficult to understand the logic behind NSW taxpayers' funds being provided to an organisation intent on using those funds to lodge legal challenges against decisions taken on behalf of taxpayers.

"It is even more absurd for these funds to be used to support a deliberate campaign of economic sabotage against an industry providing our most valuable export commodity as well as 50,000 direct jobs … we hope your government will therefore cease funding the EDO as a matter of urgency."

Mr O'Farrell declined to say whether he took any action in respect of the letter, Fairfax reported.



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