The newly created role of Queensland mine rehabilitation commissioner will revolutionise the way resource companies clean up their sites, with benefits flowing to taxpayers, regional communities, and the environment.
Lock the Gate Alliance and the Environmental Defenders Office have congratulated the Palaszczuk Government after legislation required to create the new role passed Parliament today (August 11).
The legislation gives the Commissioner a clear remit to set a new benchmark for mine rehabilitation in Queensland based on global best practice.
It also allows the Commissioner to play a leading role in educating and empowering affected regional communities, Traditional Owners and the rest of Queensland to demand the industry leave mined land in a condition that benefits local communities after mining ceases.
“The Palaszczuk Government should be congratulated for committing to and delivering on the creation of this role which will help ensure the intent of the government’s wider mine rehabilitation reforms is achieved and will blaze a trail for the rest of Australia in this area,” said Lock the Gate spokesperson, Rick Humphries.
“The existence of the Commissioner and their powers will help shunt the cost and liabilities of rehabilitation back onto mining companies where it belongs, rather than Queensand taxpayers.
“There is no doubt the overwhelming majority of Queenslanders believe mine sites should be fully rehabilitated and will strongly support the creation of a Commissioner.
“The Bill also requires the Commissioner to publicly release an annual report that documents the industry’s rehabilitation performance and trends which is to be applauded. To date there has been no one responsible for aggregating data and opening up the industry to greater transparency.
“This annual report and the requirement for site-based detailed progressive rehabilitation and closure plans will greatly assist in shining a light on industry performance.
“The creation of a permanent, independent Rehabilitation Commissioner will be seen as a significant and enduring legacy of the Palaszczuk Government.”
Environmental Defender’s Office Senior Solicitor Revel Pointon said, “For too many years, effective rehabilitation of land and water bodies from destructive mining and gas projects has not been carried out effectively or at all, as recognised by the Queensland Audit Office in 2014.
“The introduction of the Rehabilitation Commissioner, along with the increased accountability and transparency this role brings to rehabilitation in Queensland, will help ensure the suite of measures being taken by the Queensland Government to strengthen our rehabilitation laws are effective and provide continued improvements to rehabilitation standards.”