The Mt Morgan old gold mine being rehabilitated.
The Mt Morgan old gold mine being rehabilitated. Contributed

Activists accuse government of already breaking promises

AN ACTIVIST group has accused the Queensland Government of already breaking election promises.

Lock the Gate has claimed the government's draft mine rehabilitation laws would allow mining companies to leave "unfilled pits”, breaking a promise made during last year's election.

But the government has maintained the proposed laws are in line with what was promised during the election.

In a submission to the committee considering the mine rehabilitation bill, Lock the Gate said although it supported the bill's goals it did not go far enough.

Lock the Gate Alliance spokesman Rick Humphries said the bill needed to be "fixed” in the committee process.

"Queensland Labor will be breaking a major election promise and allowing mining giants to routinely leave behind unfilled pit voids and waste dumps if they proceed with this bill in its current form,” Mr Humphries said.

"The bill provides loopholes for the mining industry to drive their bulldozers and draglines right through - it will allow them to avoid rehabilitating sites if they argue the costs are large or the environmental impacts will be localised.

"The MERFP Bill needs to be fixed, urgently, before it goes back to Parliament so that mining giants are made to clean up their own mess.”

But a government spokeswoman said the proposed laws would ensure mining companies had to commit to rehabilitation.

"The Palaszczuk Government is committed to ensuring land disturbed by mining activities is rehabilitated to a safe and stable landform that does not cause environmental harm and is able to sustain an approved post-mining land use,” she said.

"The bill is part of a package of comprehensive reforms that will better protect the environment and taxpayers, and encourage jobs, more investment and growth in the resources sector. The bill is consistent with commitments we have made.

"Companies have obligations to manage their operations to minimise impacts to the community and ensure that they clean up as they go. Though this comprehensive legislation, the most significant changes in more than 20 years, rehabilitation requirements will be strengthened and taxpayers will be protected against potential risk.”

The Economics and Government Committee is considering the bill. -NewsRegional

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