2017/18 Earth Resources Regulation Statistical Review

By on March 19, 2019

Earth Resources Regulation (ERR) has recently released the 2017/18 statistical review (available at www.earthresources.vic.gov.au). An analysis of the data for the volume of extractive material sold in tonnes demonstrates a continued upturn to near record levels. Of the 881 current work authorities only 491 quarries reported in 2016/17 as opposed to 529 in 2016/17. This is a continued decline despite statutory reporting by work authority holders being a legislative requirement and subject to fines for non-compliance. Of interest, is the average $/tonnes appears to have increased in 2017/18. However, there is some concern over the veracity of data due to:

  • An increase in price of concrete sand of 36% on FY18 over FY17 has not been reflected in the extractive industry;
  • Only 491 (56%) quarries submitting production figures in FY18 compared with 529 quarries in FY17 out of a total of 881 quarries;
  • Conversations with suppliers (consumables) to the extractive industry have seen a 15% increase in business on FY18 over FY17;
  • Increase in CMPA membership levels in FY18 over FY17 due to increased production levels.
CHART 1: Extractive material sold ($/tonne) and volume sold (tonnes) against the year.

Chart 2 gives the status of extractive industry work authorities:

CHART 2: Status of extractive industry Work Authorities.

Current – Work Authority granted under the MRSDA

Application – where a Work Authority application is lodged with all requirements to obtain an approved Work Plan. It can be seen from Chart 2 that in 2017/18 there has been a slight decrease in overall number of work authorities. This is of concern with no significant increase in the number of approved Work Authorities despite projections of increased material (equivalent to ~1 million additional tonnes/annum being required) due to population growth of ~100,000 per annum and major infrastructure projects in Victoria.

ERR has changed the way reporting on the status of extractive industry work authorities occurs.

The Work Authority proposals are no longer included: where the initial site meeting has taken place. For 2014/15, as in previous years, the application stage is defined by ERR as “when a Work Authority application is lodged with all requirements to obtain an approved Work Plan”. It must be wondered whether the impact of the risk based work plan process being introduced
8 December 2015 led to the spike in applications prior to this date. It is worrying to note that the number of work plan applications has decreased, subsequently. 

CHART 3: Number of Hectares (EL) and Work Authorities approved per annum.

The data from the above chart was extracted from GeoVic
(http://earthresources.vic.gov.au/earth-resources/maps-reports-and-data/geovic). The data points labelled risk (2016, 2017, 2018 – sourced from Earth Resources Regulation) give the number of work authorities and hectares that have been approved under the risk-based work plan legislation (from 8 December 2015). The other data points are for work authorities approved that were submitted prior to 8 December 2015. As can be seen from Chart 3 very few Work Authorities have been approved under the risk-based process. Additionally:

•   There has been a 70% decline in hectares approved from 2013-2015 to 2016-2018;
•   Production from 2013-2015 to 2016-2018 has increased by 18%;
•   Demand production projections* (see Chart 1) are 16% lower than for actual production in FY18.

This sets an extremely worrying picture for the sustainability of supply of quality, competitively priced and wide range of construction material in Victoria.

CMPA has been in conversation with ERR since January 2018 with regards to obtaining historical statistical data concerning the number of approved variations to work plans. This data was previously available on the ERR website (pre-2016).

*Demand analysis of extractive resources in Victoria DEDJTR May 2016 (http://earthresources.vic.gov.au)

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