From the Secretariat

By on May 31, 2017

Fostering certainty for the Industry

DR ELIZABETH GIBSON, General Manager of CMPA reports on the implications of recent VCAT decisions.

There is the pending shortage of construction materials in outer Melbourne with additional large infrastructure projects forecast such as the third airport runway; Western distributor, widening
of Tullamarine freeway, and the proposed North East Link. The CMPA advocates the criticality of a proactive, ‘whole of government’ approach to ensuring an orderly, cost effective supply of construction materials into market. The CMPA believes this approach to be one of several fundamental precursors to future economic growth in Victoria.

The CMPA is working on a number of fronts to foster certainty for industry. The most recent development by CMPA is to undertake an investigation into Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) decisions. The VCAT project objective is to analyse VCAT Planning and Environment Tribunal orders made from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2017 (eight year period) to identify landmark decisions and trends in VCAT decision making to better understand their impact on the immediate viability and longer term sustainability of the extractive industry in Victoria.

The CMPA is concerned that there have been a number of adverse orders over the years in relation to quarries in VCAT. These include VCAT orders which on initial reading, may generally be deemed to be in the quarry’s favour. Howeveron closer scrutiny, many are accompanied by conditions that may render the project commercially unviable.

There were two adverse decisions in early April 2017 that do not bode well for the extractive industry in Victoria. Both involved variations to a Work Plan and were submitted prior to the introduction of risk based Work Plans (which were introduced through amendment to the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 on 8 December 2015). One involved Catchment Management Authorities which may have ramifications for quarries operating on flood plains. This is an example of uncertainty for the industry with respect to the length of time the variation Work Plan approval process takes and possible additional costs with each subsequent VCAT decision.

The CMPA is also undertaking to write to respective Government departments such as VicRoads and Department of Treasury and Finance highlighting the impending shortfall of materials
together with the uncertainty facing the extractive industry.




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