Filling in mines will create "thousands of jobs": Greens
DOZER drivers who helped dig Bowen Basin coal mines may be out of a job at the moment, but a contingent of Greens candidates believes work will soon be found filling them in.
Federal Dawson candidate Jonathon Dykyj, Capricornia candidate Kate Giamarelos and senate candidate Andrew Bartlett outlined in Mackay this morning the Greens party plan to create jobs.
Their mine rehabilitation policy featured prominently.
The party quoted statistics from environmental group Lock the Gate Alliance who believed rehabilitation of 40 Bowen Basin coal mines would create 2000-3000 jobs over "many years to come".
It also stated the rehabilitation of the mothballed Blair Athol mine near Clermont would create 40 full time jobs for the next 6-10 years, once owners Rio Tinto gave the go-ahead.
Mr Dykyj also put forward their plan for a mines commissioner, to oversee $2 million in funding to drive jobs growth through rehabilitation works and ensure environmental obligations were met by companies.
Because with downturn in the mining sector, he believed many companies were seeking to shirk these responsibilities.
But he also believed government was facilitation this rule-dodging through lack of enforcement.
"The estimates on what it would take to rehabilitate all of the abandoned mines and what is held in state government bonds is only a small part of what it really is," Mr Dykyj said.
"We need to get fair dinkum about this."
There is currently no limit on the time between a mine ceasing commercial operations and beginning rehabilitation, and Mr Dykyj said the Greens would seek to review this.
He also said the discounts system, where mining companies with a track record of fulfilling environmental requirements receive a discount on their upfront rehabilitation bond, would also be reviewed.
Even though mines are currently a state responsibility, the Greens party said there was a "strong case for federal intervention".
The Greens said it would establish a national inquiry into mining and resources rehabilitation and abandoned mines, which would then inform the development of national standards for mining and resources rehabilitation.
The State Government has been contacted for comment.