Lock the Gate has welcomed the appointment of the Financial Provisioning Scheme Advisory Committee which will advise Government on how funds will be spent on abandoned mine rehabilitation.
“The Committee will have an important role in ensuring the dividend from the new mining financial assurance fund is directed to priority abandoned mines and that rehabilitation work is effective in protecting the environment and the public,'' said Lock the Gate spokesperson Rick Humphries.
“The dividend will see a modest increase in the existing abandoned mines budget. I say modest because we are talking perhaps tens of millions to address a multi-billion dollar abandoned mine problem.
“It is difficult at this stage to predict what the Fund’s financial contribution might be as it grows, but any increase is welcome. We hope this committee will ensure that these scarce funds are used effectively. The history of abandoned mine rehabilitation in Queensland has been characterised by poorly designed band aid solutions that haven’t worked.
“We see this as a modest first step in addressing the mining industry’s appalling legacy in Queensland. It’s also pleasing to see the mining industry finally making a contribution via the new fund rather than just the tax payer. It’s an important precedent.
“There are about 317 large abandoned mines in Queensland, and jobs will be created as those sites are progressively rehabilitated.
“Improving mine rehabilitation not only protects our local environments but it can also create several thousand jobs in regional Queensland.
“However real job creating potential of effectively rehabilitating abandoned mines will only be realised when a funding stream is created that matches the problem. We will continue to advocate a modest 50 cents per tonne levy on the industry to raise $140 million per year to fully fund an abandoned mine programme and create thousands of jobs in regional Queensland.”