Lock the Gate analysis, released today, shows the Queensland Government could generate 4250 jobs in Central Queensland by fixing its mining rehabilitation legislation before it passes the Parliament in coming weeks.
Currently, the Mineral and Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) Bill would allow mining companies to be exempt from fully rehabilitating the land they damage on the grounds of cost to their shareholders or if the environmental impacts are deemed to be only “local”.
“Strengthening mine rehabilitation laws is a massive win-win opportunity for Queensland, that can deliver much-needed jobs in regional areas and strong environmental outcomes” said Lock the Gate spokesperson Rick Humphries.
“Our analysis shows that requiring mining companies to fully rehabilitate the 10 largest mines in Central Queensland would create 4250 jobs.
“These are jobs that Central Queensland could miss out on if the Palaszczuk Government fails to fix its mining rehabilitation legislation, by leaving a massive loophole that allows mining companies to shirk their responsibilities.
“If the government doesn’t fix up this legislation, mining companies will continue to say that rehabilitation costs their shareholders too much, leaving sites in an unusable condition meaning Queenslanders bear the cost of a degraded landscape.
“We cannot let mining companies get away with leaving taxpayers to foot the clean-up bill or leaving surrounding landholders to deal with ongoing pollution and other impacts.
“Beyond the environmental and land use impacts, inadequate rehabilitation will also cost potential jobs and investment.
“The Queensland Government needs to uphold its election promise by fixing the legislation so that mining companies are legally required to fully rehabilitate land to a safe and stable landform that can be used for other purposes, such as agriculture, after mining is finished.
“Over the medium-term, more and more coal mines will close down, as the world turns to renewable energy and we need to plans to deal with these changes.
“Getting strong legislation in place now will avoid leaving large areas of Queensland in an unusable state for agriculture and other industries in the longer-term,” Mr Humphries said.