On 8 February 2017, the Senate referred an inquiry into the rehabilitation of mining and resources projects as it relates to Commonwealth responsibilities to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry. The original terms of reference are available here.
On 27 March 2018, the Senate resolved to vary the terms of reference to expand the inquiry to include consideration of the rehabilitation of power station ash dams. The current terms of reference are below.
The rehabilitation of mining and resources projects and power station ash dams as it relates to Commonwealth responsibilities, for example under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), with regard to:
a. the cost of outstanding rehabilitation obligations of currently operating projects;
b. the adequacy of existing regulatory, policy and institutional arrangements to ensure adequate and timely rehabilitation;
c. the adequacy and transparency of financial mechanisms, including assurances, bonds and funds, to ensure that mining and resources projects and power station ash dams are rehabilitated without placing a burden on public finances;
d. the effectiveness of current Australian rehabilitation practices in safeguarding human health and repairing and avoiding environmental damage;
e. the effectiveness of existing abandoned mines programs, with regard to repairing environmental damage and safeguarding human health;
ea. the effectiveness of existing and past power station ash dams with regard to repairing environmental damage and safeguarding human health;
f. whether any mining, resources or electricity generation companies have engaged in conduct designed to avoid fulfilling their rehabilitation obligations;
g. the potential social, economic and environmental impacts, including on matters of national environmental significance under the EPBC Act, of inadequate rehabilitation;
h. the potential social, economic and environmental benefits of adequate rehabilitation, including job opportunities in communities affected by job losses in the mining, resources and electricity generation sectors;
i. international examples of effective rehabilitation policy and practice;
j. proposals for reform of rehabilitation of mining and resources projects and power station ash dams; and
k. any other related matters.
Committee Secretariat contact:
Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications
PO Box 6100
Canberra ACT 2600
Phone: +61 2 6277 3585
Fax: +61 2 6277 5794