From the Secretariat – Issue 83

By on January 18, 2016

Earth Resources Regulator Reform

DR ELIZABETH GIBSON, looks at the need for reform within the Earth Resources Regulation (ERR).

John Mitas General Manager Operations, Earth Resources Regulation (ERR), DEDJTR has retired. Whilst the need for reform within ERR is understood, the CMPA has placed on record to the Minister for Energy and Resources that the support and enthusiasm sustained by John for both the Department’s role and the extractives sector of the earth resources industry has been greatly valued and appreciated over almost 30 years. John has set a fine example through his commitment and work ethic, a benchmark for future regulatory performance, along with industry cooperation and training.

There is need for reform within ERR though, the CMPA’s view of reform compared with the Department’s, is expected to differ. The CMPA has been involved in the ERR reform consultation via Dr Elizabeth Gibson through an interview and through participation in a strategic risk assessment workshop.  One of the strategic risks that was put to the workshop participants concerned a Catchment Management Authority (CMA) and its flawed risk assessment report, that was blankly accepted by ERR without any question, resulting in the issuing of Section 110 Notices over a number of quarries.

The CMA is proposing that no extraction of sand or gravel shall occur within a 100 metres of a flood plain and even then with many other constraints. This has vast implications for the sand and gravel industry in Victoria.

This issue (CMA) has resulted in letters being sent to Ministers that are further discussed in this issue of Sand & Stone (see article on page 10). As a result of a lack of prioritisation by Government for the extractive industry, competing interests and legislation take precedence at a detriment to the industry and the Victorian economy. There is limited understanding of the necessity for our products, unlike in the USA where the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill last week that defines sand, gravel and other aggregates necessary for infrastructure construction as “strategic and critical minerals”. Yes, DEDJTR are undertaking a supply and demand study (where CMPA members have had the opportunity to participate in a survey) but the outcome is as yet unknown. Additionally, any resultant change (hopefully of benefit to the industry) will be slow to occur and may be too late to assist the quarries being impacted by the issues raised.

SITE PHOTO: Barossa Quarries

SITE PHOTO: Barossa Quarries


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