Today’s announcement by the Andrews government of an increase to the mine rehabilitation bonds for the Latrobe Valley coal mines is a strong move to protect Victoria’s taxpayers from major financial risk and to ensure mine clean-up delivers positive outcomes for the environment and the Latrobe Valley.
Environment Victoria Campaigns Manager Dr Nicholas Aberle today said:
“Increasing mine rehabilitation bonds to the full cost of clean-up is the only way of guaranteeing that Victoria’s coal mines do not become abandoned industrial wastelands.
“These new bonds mean that Victorian taxpayers are much better protected from mine operators who might try to get away with a lower standard of mine rehabilitation, or even worse, who might not rehabilitate them at all.
“By making sure owners have stumped up enough money to carry out rehab works that meet community expectations, the Andrews government is looking after the long-term future of the Latrobe Valley.
“The Latrobe Valley coal mines are enormous holes in the ground – many times the size of the Melbourne CBD and up to 200 metres deep – yet until the Hazelwood mine fire, rehabilitation bonds were completely inadequate.
“The Hazelwood mine fire was the wake-up call Victoria needed to get serious about mine rehabilitation, and we congratulate and thank Ministers D’Ambrosio, Noonan and Allan for their roles in starting to tackle this issue.
“Our own research has revealed that EnergyAustralia, owners of Yallourn, have not included any closure or rehabilitation costs in their financial statements to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission. This raises serious questions about how much they would commit to restoring the Yallourn site. This bond increase significantly reduces the risk of a poor rehabilitation outcome for the community
“Other states in Australia are facing similar rehabilitation challenges, and Victoria has shown the way forward. By forcing multinational companies like Engie, Hazelwood’s owner, to think seriously about rehabilitation issues here, this announcement also helps Engie and others improve their operations across the world. Ultimately, this reduces the chances of local communities being left with a ruined landscape once mining companies pack up and leave.”
|Figures in $millions||Original bond (set at privatisation)||Bonds increase announced April 2016||Bond increase announced October 2017|
Dr Nicholas Aberle, Environment Victoria Campaigns Manager
Office: (03) 9341 8112 Mobile: 0402 512 121