The Queensland government has moved to ease concerns of the mining industry over fears they’ll be forced to clean up mine sites which have already been rehabilitated.
Legislation to be considered by state parliament next week will force mining companies to pay into a pool of money which will be used to rehabilitate mine sites if the company can’t.
The Queensland Resources Council has been meeting with the government this week concerned over amendments to the legislation they fear could make the laws retrospective, but the government insists they will only apply to existing projects.
“All miners (would) have to pay into what is essentially an insurance fund to ensure that mine rehabilitation actually happens in Queensland,” Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said.
“We think this is the right balance between ensuring we have a strong mining industry in Queensland and that we have a sustainable rehabilitation program for sites after mining leaves.”
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the meetings had been productive, but warned it was important to get the changes right, or put at risk the $55 billion resources sector.
“We must prioritise stable regulation that does nothing to deter future investment. There’s too much at stake if the government gets this wrong,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“The resources sector employs about 300,000 Queenslanders, either directly or in supporting industries.”
Ms Trad reintroduced the legislation to parliament in February this year, after it lapsed when the 2017 election was called.
Amendments to the bill are due to be considered by state cabinet on Monday, ahead of the final sitting week of state parliament for 2018.
Queensland taxpayers may end up paying $40 million in cleanup costs from the collapse of Clive Palmer’s Queensland Nickel refinery in Townsville, and it’s hoped the cost of similar cleanups in the future will be covered by the proposed rehabilitation fund.