Earth Resources Regulation – Stakeholder Reference Group

By on April 9, 2018

Dr Elizabeth Gibson, General Manager of CMPA, provides a report on the recently held ERR Stakeholder Reference Group Meeting.

The Earth Resources Regulation (ERR) – Stakeholder Reference Group has met regularly at bi-monthly meetings chaired by Peter Betson (Deputy Secretary, Resources, DEDJTR) and attended by industry representatives from the extractive and minerals industries in addition to community representatives. The meeting’s purpose for 15 February 2018 was to discuss and receive an update on Earth Resources Regulation-Continuous Improvement Project (ERR-CIP) and to redefine the role of the ERR Stakeholder Reference Group.

ERR Stakeholder Reference Group

The format of the ERR Stakeholder Reference Group was discussed with a proposal to have a bi-monthly meeting with government and industry only to cover policy and operations:

  • ERR – CIP
  • ERR operational work program with possible project based working groups.

The Group will now be known as ERR Industry Stakeholder Reference Group. There will be separate forums for Environment Review Committee members.

ERR Stakeholder Reference Industry Group Work Program

The work program will include:

  • ERR – CIP;
  • Risk and approvals;
  • Compliance and guideline review;
  • Stakeholder engagement and website;
  • Data and public reporting.

ERR–CIP progress:

  • Finalisation of the ERR-CIP implementation plan is progressing and will be released once approved at Cabinet. However, consistent operational and regulatory practice changes can occur immediately
  • Statement of operational change is being progressed. The process for work plan variations was discussed with the proposal that pre 2015 and post 2015 work plans will be treated the same in that the risk based approach will be contained to the variation. Previous approvals will remain that are not affected by the variation. Further information for this process will be released once approved. Dr E. Gibson to seek CMPA Members with ‘live’ variations to test the proposed work plan variation approval process with K. Henry.
  • An issues resolution process to be implemented to resolve issues that industry has with ERR. This could take the form of an industry liaison appointed by ERR.
  • Standard risk management plans are to be developed for small to medium sized operators where appropriate by consultants appointed by the Resources Division DEDJTR: Jacobs. There is some concern about the appointment of Jacobs due to their previous involvement in supporting some Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs) in CMA’s goal of eliminating quarrying on flood plains and Jacobs’ role in developing the draft Guidelines for risk based work plans, the introduction of which has had a huge cost impact on the quarry industry. DEDJTR provided assurance that there was no conflict of interest.

ERR performance

As at 8 February 2018 in the ERR system:

  • Number of applications (minerals and extractives combined): 124
  • Work Plan applications: 21
  • Licensing/variation applications: 103 of which 17 have not been accepted for processing
  • Applications exceeding statutory timeframes: 10
  • Number of decisions made in the past fortnight: 22

There was general dissatisfaction by industry with the figures and with the reporting parameters. The reporting does not supply information on the nature of the decisions i.e. whether a work plan had been endorsed or approved as opposed to returning the application back to the proponent. Additionally, whilst preference appears to be given to the multi-nationals to have their applications discussed during regular face to face meetings, ERR made a commitment at the meeting to meet with small to medium sized quarry operations as well. Dr E Gibson had supplied names previously and the meetings are now said to be occurring.

CMPA VCAT report

The CMPA VCAT report is proving useful as a tool with DELWP (Planning) to support the need for a joint Ministerial statement (Planning and Resources) and a Planning Practice Note.

About Gavin Moreira

Sponsored Ads