Illawarra Labor State MPs have welcomed Resource and Energy Minister Chris Hartcher’s decision to resign from the ministry on Wednesday after the state’s corruption watchdog conducted a raid on his office
Member for Wollongong Noreen Hay said it was appropriate for Mr Hartcher to stand down while being investigated by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
‘‘Chris Hartcher has not been slow to call on every other man and his dog to stand down when there’s been a question mark over their integrity,’’ she said.
‘‘I think he’s done the right thing.’’
Meantime, member for Keira Ryan Park said the resignation of Mr Hartcher, who was responsible for the approval of coal seam gas projects, would have a big impact on the Illawarra.
‘‘This has an enormous impact on people in the Illawarra because coal seam gas is an issue that is important to many community members,’’ he said.
‘‘They will be looking for a minister more reasonable and in touch with the concerns... articulated over the past two years over the impact on our precious water catchment and supply areas.’’
Stuart Ayres, the Penrith MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Western Sydney and former government whip would fill the vacant ministry position.
The action by the ICAC is understood to relate to alleged illegal donations which forced the suspension of one of Mr Hartcher’s former staffers.
Liberal Party Member for Kiama Gareth Ward said he didn’t believe the Government’s reputation would suffer as a result of the investigation.
‘‘I think the people in the Illawarra will judge us on our record and that’s delivering record funds for roads and transport,’’ he said.
‘‘Keeping in mind labor issued every single [CSG] license that was in operation in the Illawarra.
Labor is trying to rewrite history on CSG.’’