Following Queensland senator Barnaby Joyce’s comments on the allocation of $24.4 million for mine rehabilitation, mine minister Stirling Hinchliffe says he doesn’t understand the issue.
Earlier this week Joyce slammed the mines minister Stirling Hinchliffe, stating that he had done ‘an about face’ on the issue of rehabilitating and safely managing the closed Mt Morgan mine.
In April this year, Joyce raised concerns over the management of the mine, and the possibility of its tailings dam and pit lake contaminating the nearby Dee river system, claiming that “the risk had been seemingly neglected by the Queensland Labor Government”.
After the announcement of the funding in the most recent Queensland State budget, Joyce said that Hinchliffe has apparently “changed his tune.
“Far be it for me to say to minister Hinchliffe, I told you so, but thankfully now they are doing something,” Joyce said.
“As I said back in April, it is problems like these facing the environment that we can fix and should fix immediately and leave alone the ones that are simply a spurious means of balancing the Labor party’s books by taxing the air we breathe.”
However, Hinchliffe has hit back, saying that Barnaby Joyce has again muddled his position about rehabilitation of the former Mount Morgan Mine.
“Barnaby Joyce has declared ‘I told you so’ before understanding the most basic facts about the matter,” Hinchliffe said.
“It’s a fact that it was a Labor government that committed $15.4 million over six years from 2007-8 for priority rehabilitation works at Mount Morgan and the Corydon Federation Mine.
“It’s a fact that in the latest budget we renewed our commitment with $24 million for abandoned mine rehabilitation across Queensland.
He went on to say that the current state government had also just completed a $1.8 million upgrade of the Mt Morgan mine water treatment plant to increase capacity to one billion litres each year.
“Barnaby Joyce is walking around saying ‘I told you so’ when he told us to do something we were already doing and are committed to doing well into the future.”
Hinchliffe went on to say that Joyce “can’t read a budget and doesn’t know the difference between new programs and continuation of program.”