More answers needed on LV mines
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien has called on the State Government to provide more information to the community about alternatives for rehabilitation of Latrobe Valley coal mines.
Mr O’Brien was speaking as debate intensifies on the prospect of filling the Morwell mine with water to create a pit lake.
Mr O’Brien said he understood the difficulty of rehabilitating the mines to create a stable landform, but is concerned that the government hasn’t identified suitable water sources to fill the mine.
“We are talking about filling a void that is twice the volume of Sydney Harbour, up to 1 million megalitres,” Mr O’Brien said.
“It has been made clear by the government agencies that they have not found alternative water sources to fill the mine and that utilising current available resources will take decades.
“Clearly the open cuts have been largely stable while they have been mined so in Parliament this week I’ve asked a question on notice to seek information about what the costs might be of continuing the current management of the mines, which involves pumping groundwater and other works to keep them stable.
“I think the Government needs to be open with the community about the costs and benefits of all the potential alternatives before we rush headlong into flooding these massive voids.”
Mr O’Brien said he was concerned that water that could potentially be used for irrigation would instead go towards mine rehabilitation.
“There’s a great opportunity to utilise water that was set aside for Latrobe Valley power stations for irrigation and we need to know what the opportunity costs are if that water is instead to be poured into a mine.
“The community of the Latrobe Valley and greater Gippsland clearly understands the need to ensure that the mines are stable and fully rehabilitated, but I don’t think we’ve got all the answers on the table at this stage.
“The Government needs to have a frank conversation with the broader community about what the costs and opportunities are before we rush into a decision.”