Cana­van queries amend­ments to min­ing re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion bill

The Morning Bulletin - - NEWS -

SEN­A­TOR Matt Cana­van says this week has been the great­est for North Queens­land since the Cowboys won the pre­mier­ship, but he says amend­ments to the pro­posed min­ing re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion bill had been se­cretly ne­go­ti­ated by Trea­surer Jackie Trad with the po­ten­tial to make some mines in­sol­vent overnight.

Mr Cana­van said strength­en­ing Queens­land’s re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion laws had his sup­port as well as broad in­dus­try sup­port to bring them up to best prac­tice, but the amend­ments were more about hurt­ing the min­ing sec­tor than help­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.

“What is con­cern­ing is that af­ter the bill has gone through par­lia­men­tary scru­tiny and through the pub­lic com­mit­tee pro­cesses, at the eleventh hour we’re see­ing Jackie Trad in­sert amend­ments into this bill that seem to be drafted by Lock the Gate and green ex­trem­ist groups,” he said.

The bill, which would be ap­plied ret­ro­spec­tively, is to be con­sid­ered by the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment next week and Mr Cana­van said the Queens­land Re­sources Coun­cil and large min­ing com­pa­nies had been briefed on the amend­ments.

He said he also spoke with Ms Trad in Mt Isa on Thurs­day to raise his con­cerns.

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THE IN­DUS­TRY IS NOT DE­BAT­ING OR AR­GU­ING THAT THE LAWS COULD BE IM­PROVED

He would not re­veal de­tails of the con­ver­sa­tion but said some of the re­quire­ments were im­pos­si­ble to meet and would put thou­sands of jobs at risk.

“Of par­tic­u­lar con­cern is that voids, in­clud­ing those pre­vi­ously ap­proved un­der a dif­fer­ent regime, would have to be com­pletely filled in,” he said.

“In some cir­cum­stances that is a com­plete im­pos­si­bil­ity be­cause you ex­tract more from be­neath and geotech­ni­cally you don’t have the same amount of sur­face and rocks to put back in as you did be­fore.

“That par­tic­u­lar pro­posal seems more about hurt­ing the prospects of min­ing and killing off op­por­tu­ni­ties than it is re­al­is­ti­cally about mak­ing sure we have ap­pro­pri­ate bal­ance be­tween en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and job cre­ation.

“The in­dus­try is not de­bat­ing or ar­gu­ing that the laws could be im­proved and should be strength­ened ... at the very least the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment should come clean and show us these amend­ments.”

“But in­dus­try is get­ting very con­cerned that these ideas have per­sisted long through dis­cus­sions where nor­mally such kind of silly ideas would have knocked off be­fore we got this far.”

Ms Trad has been con­tacted for com­ment.

Photo: Chris­tine McKee

Sen­a­tor Matthew Cana­van in Rock­hamp­ton yes­ter­day.

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