The Queensland government says it’s standing by new laws, making mining companies responsible for environmental clean up costs. The Resources Council fears the financial burden will deter mining investment in this state.
Amanda Harper reports.
Mining in Queensland has recently suffered a downturn.
Now the Resources Council says tough new laws requiring companies to pay for the cleaning up any environmental damage are making life even harder for miners.
Michael Roche, Chief Executive of Queensland Resources Council: “As a result of some of this legislation they are now reluctant to do so. This is very bad news for regional Queensland hurting from the loss of 23,000 jobs in the resource sector.”
Michael Roche also says it’s created so much uncertainty that potential investors are now putting their plans on hold.
Michael Roche, Chief Executive of Queensland Resources Council: “We even had the situation of one of our major banks refusing to provide finance to a project that should have been a straight forward transaction.”
But Environmental lawyers say it’s vital that mining companies are held responsible for the clean up costs.
Revel Pointon, Environmental Defenders Office: “It’s important because these major mines are the cause of that environmental harm, they profited from that environmental harm and so it’s reasonable that they should be the ones that actually pay for the clean up and management of the harm they caused.”
A recent report by the Queensland audit office listed 15,000 abandoned mine sites throughout Queensland that required various degrees of rehabilitation, which are all going to cost the taxpayer to rectify.
A cost that will now be borne by the companies.
Amanda Harper, QUT News.