Queensland appoints first-ever mine rehabilitation commissioner
Published Friday, 10 September, 2021 at 02:42 PM
Minister for Resources
The Honourable Scott Stewart
Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs
The Honourable Meaghan Scanlon
Important reforms to drive the regeneration of land on old mine sites and create new jobs in regional communities have marked another milestone, with the appointment of the state’s inaugural Mine Rehabilitation Commissioner.
A highly-regarded Director-General with extensive experience in environmental rehabilitation, James Purtill will take up the role next month after significant legislation to improve rehabilitation regulation was passed in 2020 by the Palaszczuk Government.
Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said job-creating mine rehabilitation was a critical path towards protecting the state’s environment and driving its COVID-19 Economic Recovery, and that Mr Purtill would provide scientific and technical research, advice and recommendations to be used by both government and industry.
“Putting in place an independent Rehabilitation Commissioner was a key commitment our government made as part of our nation-leading rehabilitation reforms,” Ms Scanlon said.
“James Purtill brings with him a wealth of experience through his qualifications in science, his roles in the private and environment sectors, and as a Director-General, most recently with the Department of Energy and Public Works.
“Not only does mine rehabilitation play an important role for our environment, it’s one of a number of emerging industries that has the potential to create thousands of jobs as part of our economic recovery plan.”
"As commissioner, Mr Purtill will engage with community, industry, academics, research organisations, environmental, scientific groups and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on resource rehabilitation.
“Our reforms make sure that industry does its part to regenerate the land, and that there are new job opportunities for regional communities.
“It’s absolutely critical that mine rehabilitation is guided by independent, scientific rigour and best practice. Mr Purtill’s experience will put him in good stead to create opportunities that will protect our environment and drive new economies.”
The Rehabilitation Commissioner will report the Minister for the Environment and Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs on rehabilitation and management practices, outcomes and policies, and public interest evaluation processes and performance.
The Commissioner will also monitor and provide information on resource rehabilitation performance and trends in Queensland.
Resources Minister Scott Stewart said mine rehabilitation is now an essential part of company policies and the life of mine planning cycle.
“Not only is rehabilitation important for the environment but rehabilitation programs help create more jobs for Queenslanders after a mine is no longer in use,” Mr Stewart said.
“As a government we are investing $15.5 million to address rehabilitation of abandoned mines in Queensland.”
Media contact: Francis Dela Cruz 0420 592 078