Former Tasmanian Minister for Resources Guy Barnett should be cross-examined over his decision to grant Chinese state-owned mining giant MMG a second mining lease in takyana / Tarkine, counsel for the Bob Brown Foundation Chris Gunson told the Supreme Court in Hobart today. The BBF maintains that Barnett gave MMG the lease to prevent protests against MMG’s planned toxic waste dump in the rainforests and that was not valid. Justice Alan Blow heard that MMG had already been granted the right to cross the Crown land which the new lease covered, and did not need the new lease for its waste dump proposal.
Mr Gunson told the court that Minister Barnett did not even have MMG’s application before him when he approved it.
Outside the court, Bob Brown said that Minister Barnett wanted environmental defenders of the Tarkine cross-examined in the courts but was now fighting tooth and nail to avoid being cross-examined himself. “The real question Guy Barnett wants to avoid is ‘were you acting in the public interest or just dancing on a string for MMG?’.”