The Victorian Government’s Minister for Resources Tim Pallas introduced a Bill to Victorian Parliament today which amends the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 to create a Mine Land Rehabilitation Authority. The Authority will manage mine closure and rehabilitation across Victoria, aiming to provide communities with greater certainty.
The recent Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry found that the legislative requirements for mine rehabilitation and post-closure land management were unclear, leaving communities at risk and exposing the taxpayer to rehabilitation liability.
The Victorian Government has acted on this by setting Rehabilitation Bonds for the Latrobe Valley mines at 100 per cent of independently assessed liability and a 17-year minimum guarantee for mine rehabilitation.
The introduced Bill responds to the Inquiry’s recommendations by:
- marking out the rehabilitation, closure and post-closure requirements for certain mines
- establishing clear responsibility for the post-closure management of rehabilitated mine land
- establishing a Mine Land Rehabilitation Authority to oversee mine rehabilitation and post-closure management, including administration of post-closure funds from 1 July 2020.
The Bill is designed to ensure that relevant provisions can be applied to any mine across Victoria, which may pose ongoing risks to public safety, the environment and relevant infrastructure. The new Mine Land Rehabilitation Authority is set to ensure community expectations regarding mine rehabilitation are met, and that mine operators and landowners fulfil their obligations.
“The creation of the Mine Land Rehabilitation Authority continues our implementation of the recommendations of the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry,” commented Minister for Resources Tim Pallas, earlier this morning.
“This Bill and the Mine Land Rehabilitation Authority will protect communities now and into the future and provide a positive legacy for former mine land,” he said.
Latrobe Valley Mine Rehabilitation Commissioner Professor Rae Mackay also commented on today’s announcement, stating that the transition into a new authority based at the GovHub is another positive step toward to enshrining safe, stable and sustainable rehabilitation and mine land management by people working in the most impacted community. More information on this announcement is still to come.