Burke forced on Whitehaven bids

Former enivronment minister forced into decision, court hears: report.

A court has been told former environment minister Tony Burke was forced into the decision to approve Whitehaven Coal's (WHC) Maules Creek and Boggabri coal mines, The Australian reports.

According to the newspaper, barrister Sarah Pritchard SC told a Federal Court appeal against the decision that Mr Burke was forced into the decision as a result of strategic New South Wales government leaking to the media, publicising the fact Mr Burke had made the decision.

He had been rushed into publicising a decision that still needed to resolve several environmental concerns, and by taking the leak into account as a motivation for approval, he allowed irrelevant considerations to affect the decision, Ms Pritchard said, The Australian reports.