In Queensland’s Bowen Basin, areas of post-mining land are increasing. These properties have been subject to decades of coal-mining and, without appropriate transfer to alternative use, may remain as vacant land unable to be used for grazing or other productive uses. Research that informs new and revised policies and processes to optimize rehabilitation and post-mining land use planning is critical in assisting regional economies to transition to post-mining contexts. This paper is the second supplementary report for ACARP project C 25032, Stakeholder involvement in planning to maximise the benefits and acceptance of land packages post-coal-mining in Central Queensland. It explores the potential for panels of stakeholders to agree on a beneficial land use, which is one of the four goals of mine rehabilitation and closure specified by the Queensland regulator. Whilst current guidelines require stakeholder consultation, there is little real evidence that rehabilitation and closure planning processes incorporate the perceptions of potential future land-users in terms of the utility of exmining leases, socio-economic value and associated opportunities and risks. In contrast, existing literature does reveal the range of influencing factors that landholders, especially graziers, may consider in determining the utility and value proposition of land packages – including physical, agronomic, ecological, economic, aesthetic and recreational characteristics.
This gives rise to two questions: (i) what role can input from stakeholders and potential future landusers play in considering the opportunities and barriers to incorporating ex-mine land into grazing properties; and (ii) what are the characteristics of an appropriate model for engaging and empowering a stakeholder panel to play that role? This research provides a narrative on both questions and proposes a re-conceptualisation of rehabilitation goals. It also identifies a potential role for stakeholders in adaptive management in collaboration with regulators and mining companies, and a process of long-term engagement of a cross-section of predominantly local people using visual models of an authentic case as the basis for reaching agreements about the land use challenge and reconciling ecosystem, social and economic functions and values.
Everingham, J., Rolfe, J. Lechner, A., Kinnear, S. & Akbar, D. (2017). C25032: Report 2 - An evidence based proposal for stakeholder engagement in planning post-mining land uses. Queensland: ACARP.