Fairer, Faster Help for Mine Subsidence Victims
Homeowners affected by mine subsidence will have access to fairer, faster, more transparent compensation and assistance under a proposed major overhaul of the mine subsidence compensation system in NSW.
Minister for Finance, Services and Property Dominic Perrottet today announced the reforms, following a comprehensive review of the Mine Subsidence Board, which was transferred into the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation in 2015.
The review identified a flawed compensation process with a backlog of outstanding claims.
It also found the legislation is outdated and focused on old mining methods, and that the government mine subsidence fund is being called on predominantly to pay for damage caused by the current activity of only a handful of active mines.
Mr Perrottet said the reforms would bring an antiquated regime into the 21st century.
“Communities affected by mine subsidence have told us the old system is cumbersome, inefficient and unfair and doesn’t provide the support they need,” Mr Perrottet said.
“Our reforms will deliver the genuine assistance people have been calling for, while holding mining operators to account for the damage they cause.”
Under the reforms, the Mine Subsidence Board (MSB) would be transitioned to a newly established, citizen-focused Subsidence Advisory NSW, responsible for facilitating all claims and providing strategic and technical advice to Government and industry.
A streamlined claims process would ensure affected owners have their claims dealt with inside strict timeframes, with dedicated Subsidence Advisory case managers to assist them through the process.
Active miners would be required to meet the cost of damage they cause, creating a direct financial incentive to minimise their subsidence impact. The Government’s mine subsidence fund would cover only liabilities arising from damage caused by old abandoned mines, reducing the burden on the fund and resulting in a lower levy.
Industry and local communities will be consulted on the reforms in the coming months before legislation is drafted. In the meantime, a new case management team has been established to work through the backlog of claims currently sitting with the MSB.
For more information about the reforms go to www.subsidence.nsw.gov.au.