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Waste Levy and Financial Provisioning Scheme for Mining Companies



The Brisbane forum held in June 2019 was action packed, with five speakers covering three topics. A short summary is presented as follows.

Financial Provisioning Scheme for Mining Companies

Commenced by proclaimation on 1 April 2019, the QLD Rehabilitation Reform is driven by the State government not holding “…sufficient financial assurance to mitigate its liability should mining operations in Queensland proceed to voluntary administration…”. The progressive rehabilitation and closure plan (RPCP) thus requires the post mining land use to be identified upfront. The reform introduces many new acronyms including non-use management areas (NUMAs) i.e. voids that cannot sustain a use. The presenter noted that a book currently out of print titled 101 Things You Can Do with a Hole that may be of interest to consultants encountering NUMAs on their projects. However a NUMA can be considered acceptable if it can be justified that there is greater risk of environmental harm in rehabilitated or been though the public interest test via Public Interest Evaluation (PIE) process.

The financial assurance amount is calculated by the estimated rehabilitation cost (ERC) multiplied by the risk category allocation. The ERC is based on the potential cost to the QLD government undertaking 100% of the rehabilitation. It was highlighted that effective April 2019, risk category allocation occurs in two rounds and ranges from very low or high risk. These categories are a significant driver for determining the scheme contribution as they correspond to a prescribed percentage to determine the contribution to the paid.

It is understood that the financial assurance fund will be for future projects and does not address legacy projects.

The speakers identified the PIE process as an unknown and can create uncertainty moving forward.

Waste Levy

The QLD Waste Levy came to effect on 1 July 2019. The landfill operators will collect the Levy on behalf of the QLD government. The Levy will consist of three rates with some materials exempted by the Act. It was commented that the starting rates of $75/tonne of General waste would unlikely be a financial deterrent for waste coming from the southern states. $120/tonne was mentioned as a figure to deter waste coming from outside of QLD. With a scheduled $5/year increase every year, the Levy could reach $120/tonne or more but ultimately the increases would be dependent on the government in power at the time. The word “general” to describe the $75/tonne rate could also be more descriptive.

There is a Levy map available that presents areas in QLD where the Levy is applicable. 

For Veolia Ti Tree, they have identified an approximate $53 million annual liability under the Levy. The landfill operator holds the risk and therefore will be more scrutiny will be placed on landfill customers and their ability to pay. It is understood that fees collected under the Levy will be allocated to local councils to assist with costs associated with the added administrative burden and infrastructure. The speaker identified that there is an opportunity to use technology and lessons learned from other parts of the world including Northern Europe and the US to create end-markets to encourage recycling.

Department of Environment and Science (DES) Update on Australian and New Zealand Water Quality Guidelines

The speaker took the audience through the website and noted that there has been feedback regarding missing or broken links. These observations can be emailed to waterquality@agriculture.gov.au. It was noted that there is a spreadsheet available on the website of all toxicant Default Guideline Values (DGVs) in addition to the search function available on the website. A question was raised as to whether the DGVs will be harmonised with the NEMP. A follow up email from dated 1 July 2019 indicated that DES are checking up on this and to stay tuned.

Presenter Name Presenter Name

Sally Wilson and Nick Pohl

GHD

Chris Lyall

Veolia

Dane Moulton

DES


19 June 2019 QLD event report by Kimberly Lam, WSP
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