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Green groups should declare donations: QRC

AAP logoAAP 15/11/2016 Stuart Layt

New Queensland Resources Council boss Ian Macfarlane has used his first official appearance to demand environmental activists face the same scrutiny over donations as political parties.

A longtime coalition MP, Mr Macfarlane has faced criticism for taking up the QRC chief executive role so soon after resigning from parliament in February this year.

A group of 20 activists dressed as rats protested the former federal resources minister's appointment outside the QRC's annual lunch in Brisbane.

They argue his controversial shift into the role breaches the ministerial code of ethics, which prevents former ministers from lobbying on issues related to their portfolio for 18 months after leaving office.

Mr Macfarlane, who has also been appointed to the board of Woodside Petroleum, denied the claim and stressed the prime minister's office had also advised him that he was not breaching the code.

"I'm not lobbying for one particular company and I'm absolutely certain I'm compliant with the code," he said.

Mr Macfarlane was quick to return fire at green groups, saying they should be governed by the same donation rules that apply to lobbyists and politicians.

"We're in a situation where activists are doing a political job, not a conservation job. I think it's only fair they be covered by the same declaration rules in relation to donations," he said.

"I'd suggest those who are occupied in the green movement with this should concentrate on making sure we have sustainable development in Queensland that creates jobs, creates wealth, but at the same time ensures the environment is preserved."

Mr Macfarlane said his new role is a far cry from the cut and thrust of federal politics, but he didn't miss his old job at all.

"Been there, done that," he said. "I'm really looking forward to the challenge of showing what value the resources industry is to Queenslanders."

Mr Macfarlane pledged to work closely with the state government and was full of praise for Queensland's Natural Resources and Mines Minister Anthony Lynham.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk did not attend Wednesday's luncheon because of a visit by a Japanese trade mission.

Speaking in her place, Dr Lynham announced $500,000 for resources exploration projects in the state's northwest.

"I remain confident that the resources sector will remain the backbone of Queensland's economy for decades," he said.

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