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Senate Inquiry into mining rehabilitation first step to new regional jobs

Lock the Gate has welcomed the Senate Inquiry into mining rehabilitation, established by the federal Senate today, and says ensuring mining companies fulfil their responsibilities to clean-up their damage will generate new regional jobs.

The Senate Inquiry, initiated by the Greens and supported by the ALP, will look into whether regulations for mining rehabilitation are adequate, whether mining companies are avoiding their rehabilitation obligations, and potential job opportunities in communities affected by mining job losses.

“As mines go bust, big companies are sacking their workers and disappearing without fulfilling their responsibilities to clean up the damage done to land and water, often in important agricultural areas,” Lock the Gate President Drew Hutton said.

“Instead of just up and leaving when mines close, mining companies should be made to employ locals to rehabilitate the site, generating new jobs when they’re needed most and reducing damage to surrounding agricultural land.

“Big mining companies that have been flouting their responsibilities will no doubt have some tough questions to answer in this Inquiry.

“The Inquiry is an opportunity for the many affected regional Australians to tell politicians why big mining companies shouldn’t have been allowed to leave their communities to deal with the health, environmental and agricultural impacts of abandoned mines.

“Currently there are some 50,000 abandoned mines across the country and, as the world moves towards renewable energy, more and more fossil fuel mines are shutting down.

“Instead of leaving regional Australians to deal with this mounting problem, we need to get on the front foot and force mining companies to fulfil their obligations to clean up their own mess,” Mr Hutton said.

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