From the Secretariat

By on February 7, 2018

Challenges for 2018

GARRY CRANNY (Chairperson) and Elizabeth Gibson (General Manager) CMPA.

CMPA welcomes the release of the Victorian Government publication “Getting the groundwork right – Better regulation of mines and quarries” by Anna Cronin Commissioner for Better Regulation (see her article in this issue).

The report was released on 20 December 2017 with an accompanying media release from the Hon Tim Pallas MP, Minister for Resources. The media release outlined a 6 point plan:

  • Simplify assessment processes for proposed quarries;
  • Provide clearer information to industry and the community;
  • Improve coordination across the regulatory system;
  • Deliver modern approval and internal processes;
  • Ensure laws and regulations governing the earth resources sector are fit for purpose;
  • Identify and protect strategic extractive resource areas.

So we have had the review (there have been many in the past), now the focus needs to be on following up with the “how” and “when”.

Momentum towards beneficial change must be created and be clearly evident to industry in the first half of 2018.

If not, Commissioner Cronin’s review, her resultant recommendations, along with the Andrews Government’s recent Media Releases, will amount to nothing more than a pointless exercise in political and bureaucratic spin!!

Our extractive industries sector may not be as well placed as most of us would like in terms of the approvals process, referral agency impacts, compliance, etc. and other areas that are negatively impacting and constraining sector development, including the:

  • Native Vegetation Clearing Regulations: The review of the regulations is now complete. A planning scheme amendment to implement changes to Victoria’s native vegetation regulations was gazetted on 12 December 2017;
  • Aboriginal Heritage Regulations 2007: The draft Regulations (2018) are currently being developed in addition to a regulatory impact statement;
  • National Heavy Vehicle Regulator: updated Chain of Responsibility laws coming into effect mid-2018.

Conversely, there are a number of very positive key economic settings in-place, for example, the continuing high levels of net population growth and a significant pipeline of investment in public infrastructure, matched by commensurately unprecedented private investment in industrial, commercial and residential development.

In combination, these factors offer the prospect of an improved business operating environment for the extractives sector.

It is crucial the CMPA continues to advocate as strongly and persuasively as possible for positive, balanced extractive industry regulatory change, in conjunction with much needed personnel, cultural and efficiency improvements within ERR.

About Gavin Moreira

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