Greens: coal industry is in 'terminal decline'
THE coal industry has hit out at the Greens' plan to phase out Australian mining operations in favour of renewable energy sources.
Greens leader Richard Di Natale released the plan on Tuesday, arguing coal was in "terminal decline".
The policy would create a federal fund to hold coalmine rehabilitation funds, after an audit to find out what shortfall there was between funds already held and actual costs.
It also includes a plan, minus the detail, to help mine workers re-train to hold jobs rehabilitating the mines they used to work at.
Greens Senator Larissa Waters said the policy would help secure a future for mine workers as well as prevent a blowout in taxpayer costs linked to mine rehabilitation.
The Minerals Council of Australia's executive director of coal, Greg Evans, said the Greens needed to explain the impacts of the policy on energy prices and the wider economy.
He said there were already "strict requirements" for mine rehabilitation, and miners did not get the money back unless regulators were satisfied conditions had been met.
Mr Evans argued taxpayers were not exposed to a big mine rehabilitation bill, with some $15 billion earmarked for such purposes across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.