The Senate yesterday supported a Greens motion to establish an inquiry into mining and resources rehabilitation to crack down on multinational mining companies dodging their obligations to rehabilitate mines and create jobs as the mining boom ends.
Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert and spokesperson on mining said:
“Australians are at risk of being ripped off by multinational mining companies taking their astronomical profits and refusing to clean up their own mess when mines close.
“The Greens hope this inquiry will help secure jobs in rehab and protect land and water from toxic pollution via better corporate transparency, a national audit of coal mines and binding national standards on rehabilitation, including mandatory backfilling of ‘final voids’.
“Thermal coal is in long-term decline, with global demand and Chinese coal demand both forecast to fall, so we must secure jobs as part of a just transition for workers.
“Mining rehabilitation creates jobs in communities struggling to adjust at the end of the boom, but not if big corporations walk away from their obligations.
“If we don't clean up these mines, we put our precious rivers and groundwater at risk, threatening local communities with pollution from hypersaline water and heavy metals, and threatening downstream fisheries.
“We know that State and Territory governments are failing to collect adequate bonds to cover the true cost of rehabilitation, and this inquiry will throw a light on that national scandal.
“In Queensland, a report leaked last year shows that the State government has a $3.2 billion rehab shortfall for coal mines alone.
Terms of reference for the inquiry are attached.
Media contact Nadine Walker 0418 401 180