Palaszczuk Govt Passes New Mine Rehabilitation Laws

Palaszczuk Govt Passes New Mine Rehabilitation Laws

Queensland Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Steven Miles

Better Mine Rehabilitation For Queensland

Victor P Taffa

Palaszczuk Government is making sure large mines across the state are properly rehabilitated, protecting the environment and creating more jobs in the resource services industry.

Speaking during a visit to Rio Tinto’s Hail Creek coal mine, south-west of Mackay, Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Dr. Steven Miles said the changes proposed to financial assurance and rehabilitation would apply to new and existing mine operations.

“These next generation laws will ensure taxpayers are no longer left to foot the bill for failed mines or stranded assets.” Dr. Miles said.

“For the first time mines will be expected to progressively rehabilitate as land becomes available for rehab, and their performance will be audited and publicly reported.”

“Their financial assurance will also accurately reflect the cost to rehabilitate the amount of disturbance caused.”

“Palaszczuk Government is responding to recommendations from the financial assurance review and has released a discussion paper for public comment.” Dr. Miles said.

“This policy will apply to all new mines and also be progressively applied to large operating mines, such as Hail Creek, to ensure there is a level playing field.”

“State-wide there seems to be a growing gap between disturbed land and rehabilitation.”

“We need to reverse this trend in order to better protect our communities and our environment.”

Member for Mackay Julianne Gilbert said that ensuring rehabilitation occurred over the life of the mine reduced the risk of mine sites being poorly rehabilitated or abandoned, which could affect communities and cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

“Our regional communities stand to benefit the most from this. This policy will create jobs across the rehabilitation services industry.”

“There is close to $8 Billion of rehabilitation to do in Queensland, and our regional towns are well placed to provide people and skills to do it.” Ms. Gilbert said.

“This government has always stressed the importance of ensuring Queensland’s resources sector is sustainable.”

“We want large international companies like Rio Tinto to be an ongoing part of the Queensland resources community as they have access to the latest technologies and skilled staff, ensuring our valuable natural resources can be efficiently extracted and supporting sustainable jobs across their mining operations.”

“This new proposal clarifies rehabilitation requirements, enabling the resources sector to invest in rehabilitation knowing it will meet government and community expectations.” Ms. Gilbert said.

Public comments on the ‘Better Mine Rehabilitation for Queensland’ discussion paper are open until 15 June 2017.