The Palaszczuk Government today released a discussion paper on options for residual risk management of mine sites.
The release of the paper follows the passing last week of once-in-a-generation laws to ensure mining companies, not taxpayers, pay for rehabilitating land.
Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad said one of the key issues in developing the laws was residual risk – what happens when mine sites reach their end of their life.
“It became clear in developing these laws that there are things that we can do better in this space, to make sure that former mining land is managed and rehabilitated properly even after the Environmental Authority (EA) is surrendered,” Ms Trad said.
Ms Trad said on completion of resource activity, mining companies are able to surrender their EA provided all conditions, requirements and rehabilitation have been met.
“What that doesn’t take into account is any ongoing monitoring, maintenance and rectification work which may be required on the site in the future.
“The discussion paper sets out alternatives for these residual risk payments. It will also help companies plan rehabilitation early to minimise the residual risks left at the end of mining.
“There is real potential for reforms that will make sure sufficient money is available to manage the work so it isn’t a burden on Queensland taxpayers.
“It’s all about preserving our environment in the best way we can, now and into the future.”
Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch said to protect Queensland taxpayers, the environmental regulator can request a residual risk payment from resource companies to cover potential rehabilitation costs incurred after surrender of an EA has been accepted and financial assurance has been returned.
“This acts as a safety net should there be ongoing requirements to monitor or manage the mine site, or the need to rectify failures of rehabilitation,” Ms Enoch said.
“It is important Queenslanders are part of this discussion to ensure the Queensland taxpayers are not left to foot the bill when there are unforeseen circumstances.”
Public comment on the Managing Residual Risks in Queensland discussion paper closes midnight 1 February 2019.
The discussion paper and further information can be found at https://environment.des.qld.gov.au/management/pdf/managing-residual-risks-discussion-paper.pdf
Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
The Honourable Jackie Trad
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch