Cash Handout for Miners as Government Trashes Mining Rehabilitation Fund
Wednesday 14th August 2013
Greens WA spokesperson on Mining issues, Robin Chapple MLC, today blasted the Barnett government after the Mines and Petroleum Minister tore up his predecessor’s commitment to keep the mining rehabilitation bonds system in place.
“Less than 10 months ago, the previous Minister stood in Parliament and said ‘The bond system will stay in place’ [Hansard, 17 Oct 2012].
“Was that a lie? I’ll let the public judge, based on what has now transpired.
“Today the current Minister gleefully announced that more than $1billion of this bond money, held in trust by the state for rehabilitation of abandoned mine sites, was to be given away to selected mining companies, with $58 million already forked out in less than 2 months!
“The indecent haste with which this process has been executed is breathtaking – the new Mining Rehabilitation Fund Act only got under way last month.
“In August last year, I asked the Minister in Parliament ‘what will happen to the current bond system‘, to which the reply was that ‘the facility to apply bonds will remain’ [Hansard – Answer to Question 14 Aug 2012].
“For all its inherent flaws, which I argued against in the Bill’s second reading debate – at least we had the assurance of the Minister that the former system ‘will stay in place for as long as it is required to be used’ [Hansard, 17 Oct 2012].
“Are we seriously expected to believe that there are now no longer any of the hundreds of toxic and dangerous abandoned mine sites across the state, still in need of remedial work?
“The Barnett Government’s other commitment was ‘bonds will be retired as mining companies pay into the fund’ [Hansard – Answer to Question 14 Aug 2012]. The Minister has now shelled out $58million, while collecting a sum so paltry by comparison, that the Minister is apparently embarrassed to reveal the current figure in his statement to Parliament today.
“Where’s the fiscal responsibility in that? The favoured mining companies are laughing all the way to the bank”, concluded Mr Chapple.
For more information please contact Robin Chapple on