The Queensland government is trying to stop taxpayers from knowing how much cash companies are tipping into a fund to rehabilitate mine sites.
The government is seeking to change the Right to Information Act to block the release of that information, along with how risky projects are.
Transparency International chief executive Serena Lilleywhite said it appeared the government had been pressured by mining industry players.
“It does seem that this is yet another example of undue influence by industry groups to try and encourage or influence the government to make policy decisions,” Ms Lilleywhite told the ABC.
“It really does fly in the face of pro-integrity best practice within government.”
The government says the move is in response to industry concerns about market sensitive information.
“The new laws require mining companies to provide highly sensitive financial and business information of a kind not previously provided to or required by government,” a government spokesperson said in a statement
“It does not affect other information relating to resource tenure, environmental authorities or estimated rehabilitation cost which may be available from other agencies such as the Department of Environment and Science.”
Queensland Opposition environment spokesman David Crisafulli said Queenslanders have a right to know how much is being put into the fund and by whom.
“Existing provisions in the right to information legislative framework provides robust protection for commercial-in-confidence information,” Mr Crisafulli said.
“We have ministers lining up to parrot their environmental credentials on tokenistic issues but on big reforms and tough decisions there is an eerie silence and a veil of secrecy.”
The Queensland Resources Council said it did not specifically lobby for any amendment, but did make its members’ concerns known.
“The provisions in this bill will ensure the Scheme Manager has access to all relevant information to ensure the highest environmental protection for the Queensland community,” QRC boss Ian Macfarlane said in a statement.
“It will also safeguard commercially sensitive information from falling into the hands of competitors, which may otherwise jeopardise our valuable global markets.”
The proposed rehabilitation scheme would see around 150 resource companies put money into a pool fund which would be spent rehabilitating mine sites.
Exemptions to the Right to Information Act are usually limited to information relating to things like intelligence, police operations or personal details.