A SECRET deal between Deputy Premier Andrew Fraser and coal explorer Ban
danna Energy has left the Golden Triangle Action Group furious.
The deal, made by Mr Fraser at a ministerial level outside and above his office when Treasurer, allowed mining operations to proceed on some of the state's best farming land despite promises of protection under Strategic Cropping Land policy.
GTAG has accused Mr Fraser of bending the rules and undermining SCL policy with a closed-door decision made at a personal level.
On Monday, it emerged Mr Fraser had sent a letter to Bandanna managing director Dr Ray Shaw on June 6, advising him Bandanna would be allowed to go ahead with its Springsure Creek project without being subject to SCL laws despite the fact it had missed the deadline set just days before by the government.
"This makes a mockery of any community group trying to work within the parameters set," GTAG's Kate Sullivan said.
"We sign petitions and write countless letters, then one letter from business and they get a hand-up. That is not democracy."
Mr Fraser's office was reported to have "taken the lead" on the issue despite the fact he did not hold the ministerial port
folio responsible for the decisions.
Investigations revealed Mr Fraser previously took a trade and investment mission to Asia with Dr Shaw, who was listed among the business delegation members, GTAG's Lizzie Bradford said.
"Dr Ray Shaw also accompanied Premier Bligh on a later trade mission in June this year," Mrs Bradford said.
"This has shattered what little faith GTAG had left in this government's intentions to protect our prime cropping land."
Furthermore, GTAG claimed Mr Fraser gave special exemption to the Springsure Creek project knowing full well the entire Golden Triangle agricultural area would be destroyed.
Plans released by Bandanna to the ASX show the intention to "lay waste to this prime cropping land" through a network of infrastructure connecting three Golden Triangle projects to one another, Mrs Bradford said.
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