Two birds, one little black rock

A new report by The Australia Institute outlines a solution to the twin problems of incentives for retirement of coal fired generation and funding rehabilitation liabilities. 

The report, Two Birds, One Little Black Rock, by Rod Campbell and Richard Denniss will be co-launched by The Australia Institute and Australian Greens Leader, Senator Richard Di Natale at Parliament House at 12:15pm in the Senate Courtyard. 

Australia has 25 operating coal fired power stations and 100 operating coal mines. There are an estimated 50,000 abandoned mine sites, across the country. There is mounting concern that companies either cannot pay for mine rehabilitation or will try to avoid this cost. 

“Someone will have to pay for the remediation of Australian coal mines and coal fired power stations. Attempts to conceal, avoid or delay meeting such obligations does nothing to diminish them,” Director of Research at The Australia Institute, Rod Campbell said. 

“The electricity generation sector is seeing the owners of coal fired power stations engage in a lengthy and expensive game of brinksmanship.” 

“To end this standoff two things must be achieved. Firstly, adequate funding for mine site rehabilitation needs to be secured while the operators are still mining or generating electricity. Secondly, incentives need to be provided to the owners of inefficient mines and power stations to exit the industry and get on with cleaning up their sites.” 

“The introduction of a modest, fifty cent per tonne levy on coal production would provide funds that can used to incentivise closure of end-of-life assets and ensure taxpayers are not left with the clean-up bill. 

“This would smooth the exit of excess coal fired power generation capacity and create a significant number of jobs in site remediation,” Campbell said.

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