From the Secretariat

By on November 27, 2018

Policy positions that CMPA will pursue with newly elected Victorian Government.

ELIZABETH GIBSON, General Manager of CMPA.

By the time you read this the results of the Victorian State election should be known.

There are a number of policy positions that CMPA will be pursuing with the (to be congratulated) newly elected Victorian Government. A priority is the untangling of the extractive industries from minerals in the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 to form a new Construction Materials Act.

The Construction Materials Act is to be written with the purpose to ensure that there is recognition of the extractive industry as benefiting the State through the provision of affordable construction material located close to where being used: net community benefit.

Of prime importance is to educate the community, other industries and Government about the essential service provided by our industry which greatly contributes to the economic growth in Victoria. Also, the purpose of the Construction Materials Act should include some basic mass balances: that the supply of materials is matched by the approval of resources to be quarried.

It is recognised that much has been done by the previous Government such as release of the Extractive Resources Strategy, Joint Ministerial Statement (Planning and Resources) and Statements of Operating Change that has been facilitated by the Commissioner for Better Regulation Anna Cronin. More improvements are also expected from Peter Betson, Deputy Secretary Resources and his team in the coming months such as the Planning Practice Note which will provide some clarity to the Local Planning Authorities.

Now for the Work Plan approval process, be it for a variation or a Greenfield site, that has led to such a high level of frustration amongst CMPA members. Only one set of documents is to be prepared by the proponent that are recognised by all Government Departments including Local Planning Authorities and the community.

The Work Plan must be, as always intended, the plan by which the Quarry Manager undertakes work at the quarry site: not some obscure and costly risked base assessment going into infinitesimal detail that has no bearing on the evidence of need for the extractive industry.

Additionally, to facilitate faster approvals when Work Plans are sent out to referral authorities, they should be known as recommending and not determining authorities.

Finally, whilst it is much appreciated that ERR is meeting the Statutory time frames for the Work Plan approval process, of concern is the number of applications that are returned to the proponent requiring further and/or clarification of information.

There is much more work to be done with a record hand back of Work Authorities and a collapse of Work Plan applications (variations and Greenfield sites) where Members have articulated their concerns that the risk is too great to bring forward Work Plan applications under the current regulatory regime.

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