Better Regulation of quarries – progress?

By on November 27, 2018

DR ELIZABETH GIBSON, General Manager of CMPA reports on the Earth Resources Regulation (ERR) workshop she attended in Ballarat on 21st September 2018.

The draft Standard Risk Management Plan pathway was scrapped due to unworkability highlighted by industry at a previous ERR workshop held in August 2018. The following slides are from the presentation delivered by Duncan Pendrigh, Director of Statutory Authorisations, ERR in Ballarat and illustrate the understanding that ERR has of the frustration felt by Members with the Work Plan approvals process.

Slide 1 details the current approvals process and highlights the problems with the process together with a possible way forward.

The approvals process currently (slide 1)

Slide-1

Improvements being delivered now (slide 2)

Slide-2

Slide 2 details the improvements that ERR is currently delivering such as through the Statement of Operating Change. The public reporting on applications and approvals data by ERR should also incorporate the tonnages approved/annum for extraction against the tonnages supplied per annum so that there is monitoring of the surety of supply of construction materials by type to meet Victorian economic growth requirements.

In Summary, there has been some progress for the Work Plan approval process but in the latest media release (30th Oct. 2018) by ERR the positive news of Work Plan variations is somewhat tempered by the fact that only multinational companies appear to be benefiting from the fast track process featured in the Joint Ministerial Statement (Minister for Planning and Minister for Resources). Additionally, it is confusing for the reader in the Media Release that minerals are also included as enabling Victoria’s growth. See below.

ERR Media Release (30 October 2018) – Resources Regulator Enabling Victoria’s GrowthVictoria’s quarry and mine operators are benefiting from streamlined regulatory processes that have been put in place to manage low-risk operational changes.Approvals and key decisions are on the rise, due to streamlined processes and better guidance for operators. This is enabling a booming earth resources to increase the processing of sand, stone and minerals, which are in high demand to build public infrastructure and affordable housing.

Two quarry approvals for Hanson sites near Kilmore will release over 20 million cubic metres of additional bluestone rock.

The existing Kilmore sites were part of a priority Hot List for targeted fast tracking that were featured in the Joint Ministerial Statement for Extractive Resources launched earlier this year.

Earth Resources Regulation recently launched its Statements of Operating Change for the minerals and quarry industries to ensure it enables the growth of the sector.

Operators now have the option to notify Earth Resources Regulation of basic operational changes without submitting a formal work plan variation for low-risk activities.

Up to 50 per cent of all operational plan approvals will now be fast-tracked through this process, saving operators the time and paperwork involved in preparing a work plan variation, while continuing to fulfill their regulatory obligations.

The regulator has now received 16 requests via the fast-tracked process.

Near Bacchus Marsh quarry operator, Boral, has benefited from an approach which will see a new road constructed to aid production from two work authority sites.

On the minerals side, Victoria’s largest gold mine at Fosterville is benefiting from a simplified process to adjust their operations to aid the production of gold, estimated to grow this year to twice the amount produced in 2016.

The improvements that have been implemented by Earth Resources Regulation are a result of a review that was undertaken in 2017 by the Commissioner for Better Regulation, Anna Cronin.

Earth Resources Regulation is now making over 97% of decisions within statutory time frames.

The CMPA Secretariat would much appreciate hearing from Members that have been able to take advantage of the progress (or otherwise) with the Work Plan Approval process to better enable feedback to ERR.

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