‘Serious questions’ over New Hope lobby firm
A LOBBYING firm co-founded by a recently departed political adviser to Annastacia Palaszczuk will push for the State Government approval of the controversial New Acland mine's expansion.
Anacta Strategies, co-founded and half-owned by Palaszczuk's former strategy chief Evan Moorhead, has been appointed by New Hope Group to lobby for the approval of the $900 million proposal, The Australian reports.
Mr Moorhead left the Premier's office in May, having been ALP state secretary, and co-founded Anacta Strategies with political consultant David Nelson, who also has ties to Labor.
During his time in the Premier's office, Mr Moorhead met with New Hope management and was involved in government decisions and deliberations on the expansion of the New Acland mine, located west of Brisbane.
The controversial expansion has been stymied by approvals processes for years, and New Hope has recently said it would lay off workers.
Queensland opposition leader Deb Frecklington said the revelations were "yet another integrity scandal for the Palaszczuk Government."
"Annastacia Palaszczuk needs to order an investigation to ensure the Integrity Act hasn't been breached," Ms Frecklington told The Australian.
She said Mr Moorhead's former role in deliberations between the State Government and New Hope raised "serious questions."
Mr Moorhead said the perceived conflict of interest was not the case and he was fully compliant with the Integrity Act.
He said his business partner Mr Nelson would handle all lobbying on behalf of New Hope to the State Government.
"I have done everything in compliance with the act."
A passage in the Integrity Act states that lobbyists are forbidden from "lobbying activities" on any matter that are related to their former representative duties as a government employee for two years.