(Adopted October 2014)
The Queensland Greens believe that:
1. The consequences of the mining and extractive industries on economic, environmental and social sustainability must be considered by decision-makers and companies held accountable for the long-term impacts it has on the landscape, economy and community.
2. Mining and extractive industries are based on non-renewable resources and are major greenhouse gas emitters. As such there is a need to move away from these industries and move towards sustainable production practices and the use of renewable and sustainable resources.
3. Mining and extractive industries are largely based on common-property resources located on crown land, and the public deserves to be fairly compensated for the removal of these resources.
4. Resource booms need to be regulated and utilised to best serve Queensland’s long term interests, by providing high levels of local employment now, while transforming our economy to be smarter and greener for the future and protecting our natural environment forever.
5. Our important natural and cultural heritage need to be protected from any large scale disturbances such as mining, and any disturbance needs to be restored to a condition agreed as acceptable by the community and the long-term land managers.
6. There must be effective environmental regulation for the resources industries with significant deterrents for non-compliance with legislation, regulations and licence conditions, enforced by well-resourced independent regulatory bodies.
7. Specific incentives to encourage the use of Queensland labour, skills and industries in the engineering, design and fabrication of infrastructure for extractive industry projects.
8. Government regulation of, and agreements with, the mining and extractive industries must be transparent and conform to the principles of open and honest government.
9. The investment in onshore processing to add value to minerals using renewable energy and innovative technology is an important and immediate means of adding value to the sector.
10. Resource extraction will remain an important component of the Queensland economy insofar as it provides essential raw materials for which no clean substitutes exist.
The Queensland Greens will work towards:
1. Introducing legislation that recognises that mining is incompatible with all other land uses and so its public benefit needs to be rigorously assessed before being approved.
2. Protecting all cultivation and grazing lands and the aquifers which sustain them.
3. Ending land swaps involving national and marine parks.
4. Implementing an EIS process that is affordable and transparent to the public, which truly assesses projects and offers a real opportunity to halt the project if criteria are not met, rather than allowing projects to proceed regardless and then simply seeking to manage environmentally disastrous outcomes.
5. Ensuring mining activities are not exempt from the state’s existing water, vegetation management and pollution laws.
6. Giving rights to landholders with regard to access, negotiation, appeal and compensation rights in their dealings with resource companies.
7. Establishing an open and transparent process for third party appeals against mining proposals, including maintenance of the rights for public interest objections and provision of environmental legal aid.
8. Increasing the resources available to the relevant departments to monitor and enforce licence and ministerial conditions of resources developments and increase the financial and other penalties for non-compliance.
9. Reviewing the powers of all relevant State regulatory agencies and make any necessary changes to enhance cross-agency cooperation and improve the quality, thoroughness and transparency of environmental impact assessments.
10. Improving the environmental assessment process to include full life-cycle assessments of energy associated with mineral extraction, transportation and use.
11. Employing the precautionary principle where there is significant uncertainty around a project’s impact on the environment or community.
12. Placing significant restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from resources industries and require full reporting and offsetting of all greenhouse gas emissions, including those from FIFO workers.
13. Opposing unsafe or environmentally unsound fracking practices.
14. Prohibiting royalties being redirected back to mining companies, either directly or indirectly through the funding of port or rail expansion projects developed specifically to benefit those companies.
15. Ensuring royalty rates represent a fair rate of return to the community for the use of a finite natural resource, and also to limit the potential for the resources sector's success to hurt other parts of the economy.
16. Reviewing the royalties system to promote equity in the industries, greater downstream processing where appropriate, and greater recognition of the financial burdens carried by local government in regional service provision and asset management.
17. Supporting the premise that a portion of royalties retained by the State are spent in regional and remote Queensland, over and above current provision of state services, and where the social and environmental needs are greatest.
18. Developing regional water resource management plans for extractive industries regions so that the cumulative impact of the those industries on surface and groundwater is understood, and ensure that future developments are assessed with an emphasis on cumulative impact to these resources.
19. Placing an increased emphasis on mine closure and rehabilitation planning requirements during the approvals process for new developments in line with a clearly articulated completion criteria, with the onus on proponents to demonstrate that satisfactory rehabilitation is likely to be achieved.
20. Ensuring mining rehabilitation applies in full to abandoned / legacy mine sites.
21. Requiring that any area that has been mined have its biodiversity returned to as close to a pre-mined condition as possible, as verified by a qualified, independent assessor.
22. Running a full and transparent environmental audit of all tailings impoundment facilities move to full cost recovery bonds and/or insurance for closure based on extensive modelling and projected costs of rehabilitation to cover all extractive industries and to be undertaken at proposal / environmental impact assessment stage.
23. Supporting the cancellation of all existing mining and exploration leases in and adjacent to all national parks and nature reserves and other conservation areas.
24. Initiating the creation of a register of radioactive tailings sites.
25. Advocating that existing mining operations in all environmentally sensitive locations should not be expanded, and when extraction is complete, the area should be regenerated to its maximum potential.
26. Requiring that a rigorous scientific assessment and comprehensive public debate be a prerequisite of any exploration and/or mining of the off-shore areas of Queensland.
27. Banning uranium exploration, mining and export.
28. Stopping the continuation of sand mining on Stradbroke Island.