Today the Auditor-General’s report on rehabilitating mines in Victoria has revealed that the state’s Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR) is exposing Victoria to significant financial risk, health problems and environmental damage by failing to effectively make sure mine sites are rehabilitated at the end of their life.
Thousands of mine sites and quarries across Victoria have been poorly rehabilitated or not treated at all, and the regulator says they do not have the resources to make sure they’re cleaned up properly.
The damning report also found that 578 mining and quarry sites have no rehabilitation bonds at all, including some which are currently operating. Bonds are necessary to help fund the clean-up of a mine site once it has been retired, restoring the environment and protecting the local community.
It also found that a staggering 91.7 per cent of existing bonds are not being reviewed regularly to ensure they are adequate, and that the Department had a serious conflict of interest because they are tasked with promoting and developing mining in Victoria while also being responsible for regulating it.
Acting Leader of the Victoria Greens, Ellen Sandell, said the Victorian Government has an incredibly aggressive plan to open up Victoria to mining - for gas, mineral sands and more - and has opened up huge swathes of Victoria to new minerals exploration over the last six years, but that this report shows the Government is not doing its job to keep Victorians and the environment safe.
Quotes attributable to Acting Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell MP:
“This Victorian Government is opening up huge areas of Victoria to mining for fossil fuels and minerals, but this report shows they’re not regulating the mines to make sure they’re safe. This is putting Victorian communities, the budget and the environment at risk.
“The Victorian Government needs to fix up this mess and make sure communities and the environment are protected when mines reach the end of their life. At the moment it’s clear they’re failing to do that.”