Updated November 25, 2015 21:38:48

The Queensland Government is cutting the amount of funds resource companies should pay to guarantee that mines are appropriately rehabilitated.

The Environment Department stated miners no longer had to pay GST of 10 per cent on the rehabilitation bonds they lodge with the State Government, with the modify taking impact on October 3.

Companies that have already paid the GST may possibly request a refund, the division mentioned in an data sheet circulated to mining companies and posted on the department’s web site.

Lock the Gate Alliance stated the move was “outrageous” in light of a 2014 Queensland auditor-general’s report that identified the bonds had been “insufficient to cover the expenses of rehabilitation”.

The report stated in the case of a single particular mine, the bonds held have been only 1.5 per cent of the estimated expense of remediation.

The Queensland Government holds $ 5.38 billion in rehabilitation bonds.

The taxpayer could be left to spend tens of billions of dollars to rehabilitate these mines or they are left in an incomplete or non-existent state of rehabilitation to potentially pollute the surrounding countryside.

Drew Hutton, Lock the Gate Alliance

But Dr Peter Erskine from the University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute told the ABC’s Landline system in September that it would cost between 3 to ten instances that quantity to ensure mines were properly rehabilitated.

Dr Erskine said $ 15 billion to $ 50 billion would make sure that pollutants would not contaminate lands and waterways surrounding mines, that landforms were left safe and steady for cattle to graze on, and that the rehabilitated land was sustainable.

Lock the Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton mentioned mining firms had proven countless instances in Queensland that they could not be trusted to correctly rehabilitate mine web sites.

“State governments over the decades have allowed them to get away with that,” he mentioned.

“The Government must be substantially rising the amounts paid in economic assurances by mining firms to cover the charges of rehabilitation, not decreasing them.

“As has been noted many instances, like by the auditor-basic, most mines do not do progressive rehabilitation, they don’t fill in final voids, and there is really little monitoring by the Atmosphere Division to make certain the businesses complied with requirements.

“This means the taxpayer could be left to pay tens of billions of dollars to rehabilitate these mines or they are left in an incomplete or non-existent state of rehabilitation to potentially pollute the surrounding countryside.”

A spokeswoman for the Queensland Sources Council stated the organisation had worked closely with the Government to cut the GST payment and welcomed the move.

The ABC has contacted the Atmosphere Division for comment.

Topics: mining-environmental-troubles, mining-business, regional-development, activism-and-lobbying, federal—state-problems, mining-rural, regulation, qld, mount-isa-4825, mackay-4740, townsville-4810, rockhampton-4700, toowoomba-4350

First posted November 25, 2015 21:33:09

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