The Stawell community will have a greater voice on any proposal to revive the open-cut gold mine along Big Hill ridge under a new assessment process announced by the Andrews Labor Government.
The process ensures that any new plan from Stawell Gold Mines Pty Ltd addresses issues including public health risks, noise and air quality.
A proposal to create an open-cut gold mine at Big Hill was rejected by the Victorian Government in 2014 due to health and environment concerns.
Under the overhauled process, the state’s mining regulator will establish an independent expert panel to conduct information sessions, gather written submissions, hold public hearings and make recommendations – reflecting the advice of the 2014 Environment Effects Statement (EES) assessment.
Any new proposal would need to be consistent with the previous project assessed in 2014. Should the project’s scope change, the company’s proposal may need to be referred to the Minister for Planning to determine if a new EES is required.
The Labor Government is also establishing a grants program to fund community legal education and assistance services for local citizens and groups who want to take part in the Big Hill proposal assessment.
Local residents will be able to engage in community legal education workshops, information sessions and guidance on drafting submissions.
Earth Resources Regulation will continue to monitor the site and conduct regular inspections.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Resources Wade Noonan
“Any new proposal for a mine at Big Hill will be carefully scrutinised, and this new assessment process means local communities will have a voice at the table.”
“We will consider any plan that generates jobs and economic activity in the Stawell community, but it must balance public health and environmental concerns – this is not negotiable.”
Quote attributable to Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford
"The debate around this project has gone on a long time – and this new process will give the Stawell community a say and help us to settle on a way forward."
Reviewed 19 August 2020