A Bill enabling the establishment of a Mine Land Rehabilitation Authority which was recently tabled in State Parliament has been welcomed by the group advocating for the establishment of a Great Latrobe Park to be developed through the progressive repurposing of the open cuts of the Latrobe Valley.
The Bill proposes that a Mine Land Rehabilitation Authority would be established to coordinate the rehabilitation of declared mine land throughout Victoria. It would be established by no later than July 2020. The Government has stated that the proposed Authority would be headquartered in Morwell.
Ms Nina Burke, President of the Great Latrobe Park Inc said that her group was pleased by the proposal to establish a Mine Land Rehabilitation Authority which had been recommended by the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry.
“A well resourced Mine Land Rehabilitation Authority should be able to ensure that the massive open cut mines of the Latrobe Valley are progressively repurposed so that they become attractive, useful assets of immense long term value for the State and Regional community.” Ms Burke said. “Our hope would be that after careful evaluation of rehabilitation options, the proposed Authority would support the concepts being advocated by many community members and groups for the development of a Great Latrobe Park.”
While welcoming the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Amendment Bill 2018, Ms Burke said that there were a couple of matters about the Bill on which the Great Latrobe Park group would be seeking some amendments. These involved slightly increasing the size of the Authority’s Board and the introduction of measures to guarantee increases in transparency, scope for public input, and independent evaluation processes.
Ms Burke said that repurposing the Latrobe Valley’s open cuts to become attractive and useful long term assets will be a big task. The open cuts cover an area of about 50 sq kms. (equivalent to the area of Sydney Harbour). Creative visions, effective planning, and substantial resources are going to be required. Of course, it needs to be remembered that the value of electricity supplied from the Latrobe Valley to Victoria during the last 90 to 95 years has been estimated to be approx. $200 billion
(at present day power prices ($100 per MWh)).