New legislation will make rehabilitation for the Latrobe Valley’s coal mines stronger and more transparent, increasing certainty for industry, landowners and local communities.
Responding to recommendations of the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry, the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Amendment Bill 2019 was passed through the Victorian Parliament last night.
The new amendments make it clear that closed mines must be rehabilitated to a safe and stable landform. They also guide how landowners will monitor and maintain former mines and establish a Latrobe Valley-based Mine Land Rehabilitation Authority and Post Closure Fund.
The Authority will replace and succeed the Latrobe Valley Mine Rehabilitation Commissioner, who has been monitoring mine rehabilitation since May 2017, in time for the completion of the Latrobe Valley Regional Rehabilitation Strategy in June 2020.
Prior to the Bill coming into effect on 30 June 2020, the government will appoint the Authority’s Board, which will be based in the Latrobe Valley and chaired by a person with expertise in mine rehabilitation. All appointments will be made through an open and transparent process.
Broad consultation will be conducted, including a through a public Regulatory Impact Statement, to assess possible impacts on industry and prepare the Bill’s supporting regulations, policies and procedures.
Guidance materials will support the new laws and assist the mining sector meet the new requirements.
The Bill was prepared after extensive consultation across the sector, including with Latrobe Valley coal mine operators, industry, environment and community stakeholders, the Latrobe Valley Mine Rehabilitation Commissioner and local working and advisory groups.