"Every Queenslander should shudder at how Jackie Trad does business"

Trad referred to CCC over $70m 'extortion' claim

DEPUTY Premier Jackie Trad has been referred to the corruption watchdog, accused of extortion.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington last night wrote to Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) chair Alan MacSporran over Ms Trad's ultimatum that miners pay $70 million into a "voluntary" infrastructure fund in exchange for a three-year royalty freeze

Ms Trad has committed to freeze royalties for one year no matter what, but has said she will only freeze rates for a further two years if miners agree to pay into the fund.

Ms Frecklington's letter said she was concerned the circumstances that had led to the proposed new Resources Community Infrastructure Fund "may constitute an offence of extortion under section 415 of the Criminal Code 1899".

"As you are aware, if proven, this would constitute grounds for corrupt conduct," she wrote.

The circumstances of the offer were made public on Wednesday after weeks of speculation the Government was considering a royalty rate hike, which could have cost resource companies anywhere up to $1 billion a year.

Ms Frecklington told The Courier-Mail Ms Trad had "given mining bosses a $70 million ransom note".

"This is extortion, it is blackmail and every Queenslander should shudder at how Jackie Trad does business in Queensland," she said. "Queensland is not some tin pot dictatorship and I have asked the CCC to look at possible corrupt conduct by Labor's second most powerful politician."

In her letter, Ms Frecklington alleges that Ms Trad may be guilty of extortion - which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment - by making a demand under threat of substantial economic loss.

"It would be appreciated if the CCC could investigate this issue as a matter of urgency," she writes.

The news comes as Ms Trad continues to wait for an answer from mining companies, who yesterday were locked in discussions on the offer.

"The industry has had productive discussions with the Government today and discussions between the industry and the Government are ongoing," Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said.

The Government has pledged to tip in $30 million to the fund as well.



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