The Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Amendment (Latrobe Valley Mine Rehabilitation Commissioner) Bill 2017 was introduced in May 2017 to establish the statutory office of the Commissioner to monitor and audit mine rehabilitation, and consult local communities.
The Commissioner provides independent advice and recommendations to the Latrobe Valley Regional Rehabilitation Strategy and the Minister for Resources on the development of the Strategy, which is due to be prepared by 30 June 2020.
The Commissioner is required to work closely with the community, stakeholders and the Latrobe Valley mine operators – and oversee individual rehabilitation planning for each of the coal mines.
It will also work in partnership with the Latrobe Valley Mine Rehabilitation Advisory Committee.
The Latrobe Valley Mine Rehabilitation Commissioner’s plan is based around four key points as set by the Victorian government:
- Safe: lowering risk to public health and safety, and the environment, both within and outside the mine;
- Stable: ground instability and adverse ground movements in and around the mines will be minimised as far as practicable;
- Sustainable: long-term beneficial use of the land form will be determined; and
- Strategy: goals regarding the rehabilitation of the mines will be made clear to the mine owners, government and wider community.
New legislation introduced in September 2019 will establish a new Mine Land Rehabilitation Authority and replace and succeed the Commissioner’s role in time for the completion of the Latrobe Valley Regional Rehabilitation Strategy in June 2020.
The Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Amendment Bill 2019 now makes it clear that closed mines must be rehabilitated to a safe and stable landform and will also guide how landowners will monitor and maintain former mines.
Before the Bill comes into effect on 30 June 2020, the Victorian government will appoint the Authority’s Board, which will be based in the Latrobe Valley and led by relevant experts.
The new Authority will be based at the Latrobe Valley’s new GovHub in Morwell.