From the Secretariat (Issue 104)

By on June 4, 2019

Meeting with the Minister for Resources

DR ELIZABETH GIBSON, General Manager of the CMPA provides a report.

The Minister Jaclyn Symes, her Senior Adviser Adam Olive and Anthony Hurst (DJPR) met with Garry Cranny (Chairperson CMPA / Dandy Premix Quarries), John Mawson (Management Committee Member CMPA / E. B. Mawson & Sons), Ron Kerr (Hon. CEO CMPA / Conundrum Holdings) and myself on 9th April 2019 at the CMPA office in Kilmore. Introductions were made and cordial, but frank discussions were held concerning the extractive industry.

From the CMPA’s perspective, it was an opportunity to illustrate the positive side of the industry such as the impressive record of end land use of former quarries in Melbourne and Victoria, the vital role the industry has on economic growth in the State and the industry’s commitment to working with the community.

The impact of Native Vegetation Clearing Regulations, Aboriginal Heritage and Catchment Management Authorities on the extractive industry (for example, extractive industry sites at Wodonga and on the Goulburn, flood plain will be lost) was explained to the Minister. Together with the use of the term risk being highly emotive as evidenced by previous cases in VCAT. A proposal was made that management of noise, dust and water etc. be “codified” to provide assurance to Referral Authorities that suitable controls are in place.

The Commissioner for Better Regulation, Anna Cronin’s “Getting the Groundwork right” report was discussed.

The Minister is keen to retain the Commissioner to continue the six monthly reviews of the progress in implementation of recommendations in the report by ERR.

Recruitment of qualified and experienced staff in ERR: CMPA supports ‘up-skilling’ of ERR and encourages Government to make this happen in the collective interests of Government, industry and the community.

The Minister appeared interested in exploring ‘land use’ approval from the Responsible Authority for extractive activities, before the proponent seeks work plan endorsement. This reflects CMPA’s proposal to Earth Resources Regulation five years ago as part of the introduction of risk-based work plans.

The Minister detailed complaints from the community in received correspondence which mostly concern truck movements, dust and noise issues. The community need to have more understanding of the extractive industry and its benefits to the State: “flip the narrative”. The CMPA suggested that separation of mines from quarries in the legislation in conjunction with an extractive industry / government community education program would assist.

The meeting was very productive and, hopefully, the first of more to come.

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