Earth Resources Ministerial Advisory Council

By on May 26, 2016

DR  ELIZABETH  GIBSON,  General  Manager  of  the  CMPA  provides  a  summary  on  the  meeting held in March 2016.

The Earth Resources Ministerial Advisory Council (ERMAC) has been reformed and its purpose is to provide strategic advice to Minister for Energy and Resources.

The Hon Lily D’Ambrosio MP on the sustainable development of Victoria’s mining and resources industry.

For the first time, the Minister has broadened ERMAC to include representatives from the community, unions and environmental groups as well as industry. ERMAC consists of 15 members and also includes representatives from the CMPA, Victorian Farmers Federation, Minerals Council of Australia, Environmental Justice Australia, the Municipal Association of Victoria, water catchment management authorities, unions and community engagement groups.

Dr Elizabeth Gibson was nominated by the CMPA Management Committee to be a Member of ERMAC. This nomination was accepted by the Minister. Dr Richard Aldous has been appointed ERMAC Chair. Dr Aldous is a former CEO of the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies and has extensive experience in earth resources both in the private and public sector.

This greater range of views and advice is said to assist with providing greater certainty for industry investment and build community confidence in Victoria’s mining and resources sector.

ERMAC will consider reforms which attract investment, provide effective and efficient regulation, and build community confidence in the regulation and performance of the sector through open engagement practices and performance reporting.

The first ERMAC meeting (for the current Victorian Government) was held on 30 March 2016 in Ballarat. The Minister and her Advisor Sarah Williams were present at the beginning of the meeting.

The Minister addressed ERMAC and made the following points:

  • The Government has a big job in gaining the confidence of community and industry.
  • The Minister would like to see:
  • Logical decision making by Government.
  • Logical expectations from the community.
  • A resource sector which helps to drive investment in Victoria, is sustainable and with community engagement.
  • New investment and greater certainty for business.
  • New approach to minerals resource development.
  • Reform of Earth Resources Regulation Branch with internal changes is occurring.

Additionally, the Minister stressed the need for confidentiality of issues being explored by the Council.

Anthony Hurst, Executive Director, Earth Resources Policy & Programs (DEDJTR) gave a presentation for which some of the key points included the requirement for:

  • A competitive economy;
  • Industry certainty;
  • Community confidence;
  • The whole life cycle of the mine/quarry to be considered;
  • Consistent policy and legislation;
  • Protection of the environment and public health;
  • Robust regulation;
  • Transparency in decision making.

Issues raised

It was stated by Dr Gibson that “there is currently adequate regulation for the industry and what is required is consistent enforcement by the regulator of the current legislative tools available. The current reform underway of the regulator should improve the consistency in enforcement.”

Following on from the first ERMAC meeting, a workshop was held to further debate themes around the three objectives for mineral resources:

  • Competitive economy and jobs;
  • Industry certainty;
  • Community confidence.

The second ERMAC meeting will be held in June 2016.

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