27 Sep 2012

Minister accused of power grab on Crown minerals

7:08 am on 27 September 2012

Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley is being accused of a power grab under new legislation governing Crown-owned minerals.

Parliament has passed the first reading of the bill, which promotes the prospecting, exploration and mining of minerals including gold, silver and petroleum.

Mr Heatley says his bill is critical to the future development of resources and their contribution to the economy and rejects any suggestion of a power grab.

"The concerns that were expressed by some MPs are being looked at in more detail at select committee. So once the public have their say and industry have their say and various conservation groups, I think we'll be able to get a better bill in the long run."

But the Labour Party says the legislation gives the minister enormous power, including input on whether mining projects need to go out for public consultation.

The Green Party says it also objects to the minister's new functions under a bill it describes as fundamentally flawed.