Chain of Responsibility puts Queensland taxpayers ahead of slippery corporates
22 April 2016
Public interest lawyers Environmental Defenders Office Queensland (EDO Qld) welcome Queensland Parliament’s passing of stronger environmental laws to help prevent communities and taxpayers getting stuck with multi million dollar environmental clean-ups.
EDO Qld CEO Jo-Anne Bragg said: “The Environmental Protection (Chain of Responsibility) Amendment Bill 2016 will give the government new tools to hold mining and other projects accountable for the environmental harm they may cause and to force cleanup even if the operator goes broke.”
“We strongly congratulate Minister Steven Miles and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk for taking this initiative and trust they will be using these new powers effectively in the public interest,” she said.
“The Bill sends a clear message to industry’s poor environmental performers that they are accountable for and must clean-up their mess and rehabilitate their sites instead of just wiping their hands and walking away.
“Right now, Queensland and taxpayers are faced with a multi-million dollar clean-up bill of projects including the Texas Silver mine. The Queensland Nickel site next to the Great Barrier Reef is of grave environmental concern in the face of unfunded millions needed for the clean-up.
“We expect the Queensland Government to exercise its powers actively and efficiently, as without implementation the Bill will not deliver on its potential. As always, EDO Qld lawyers will be happy to discuss implementation with the Government and keep a watchful eye over the process in the public interest.
“We already have 15,000 abandoned mining sites in Queensland with liability to the public purse of over $1 billion and we’re counting on the State Government and the Chain of Responsibility to help stop more projects being added to this list.”
For background information on the Bill, see here.