Hanson Construction Materials has had a work variation plan refused by the Victorian Earth Resources Regulator for the rehabilitation of the former Harkaway Quarry.
Since ceasing operations in 2010, the 100-year-old quarry has undergone partial rehabilitation, most recently in 2015.
But as the current rehabilitation plan was developed in 1987, Hanson applied for a work plan variation which would reduce the carbon emissions and amenity impacts for the local community.
Earth Resources Regulation executive director Anthony Hurst broadly stated the responsibilities of regulators and operators in such contexts.
“When it comes to site rehabilitation operators are obliged to deliver restoration work to the required standard in order to protect the environment and future site users,” Hurst said.
“While most quarry operators do the right thing, we’ll step in and hold companies accountable if they seek to reduce rehabilitation standards.”
“Public confidence in the quarry sector and the jobs it creates depends on operators fulfilling their rehabilitation obligations and delivering safe environments at their former sites.”
The work variation plan would reduce the number of truck movements involved in the rehabilitation by 170,000, subsequently reducing emissions, noise, and wear on local roads.
The building materials supplier expressed its disappointment in the decision in a statement.
“For the past two years Hanson has been working with its consultants and external stakeholders to develop a contemporary rehabilitation plan for the Harkaway Quarry that will deliver a safe, stable and sustainable visually acceptable outcome in line with its legal requirements,” the company stated.
“After minimal engagement with Hanson and a significant delay post its statutory decision-making timeframe, the Regulator refused to approve the revised plan and issued Hanson with a notice requiring Hanson to specify what steps it will be taking to deliver the 1987 rehabilitation plan.”
In the statement, Hanson emphasised its devotion to rehabilitation and responsible operating, saying it takes its obligations very seriously.
The company has appealed the decision to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.