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Recent amendments to the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld) (EP Act) further reform the mine rehabilitation regime in Queensland.
The Rehabilitation Commissioner will provide independent scientific advice to both government and industry for the purpose of evaluating the rehabilitation framework in Queensland.
The statutory functions of the Rehabilitation Commissioner include:
The Rehabilitation Commissioner has an advisory role rather than a regulatory function. The administering authority under the EP Act will continue to regulate resource activities through the approval of environmental authorities and the taking of enforcement action.
Amendments to residual risk framework
Over recent years, the EP Act has been amended to include a residual risk framework that seeks to ensure that risks remaining on a resource site following completion of resource activities are identified, costed and managed.
The reforms seek to enhance the existing residual risk framework in an endeavour to improve the management of residual risks on former resource sites.
The reforms to the residual risks framework:
On 2 October 2020, the Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES) published an Interim Residual Risk Assessment Guideline for the purpose of describing how to undertake a residual risk assessment and providing information to help determine whether a risk management plan is required to be included with a post-surrender management plan. DES have stated that the Interim Guideline will be in place until the completion of the final residual risk assessment guideline under the Ministerial Industry Implementation Working Group.
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