From the Secretariat

By on February 15, 2023

Opportunities for the Industry in 2023

DR ELIZABETH GIBSON, General Manager of the CMPA.

Rehabilitation bonds
The total sum for work authority rehabilitation bonds has increased by approximately 10% in the last 12 months. However, Earth Resources Regulation is in the process of revisiting rehabilitation bonds leading to massive increases (1000% and higher) for work plan variations with the few that are approved each year. This leads to a disproportionate competitive advantage for those that have not had their bonds reviewed. There is an opportunity here to have ERR consider without prejudice implementation of the recommendations from the CMPA Rehabilitation Report 2022.

Replenishment of supply
For work plan/work plan variation approvals 2021/22 looked to be a good year for work plan/work plan variation approvals with data being accessed from Earth Resources Regulation’s GeoVIC showing 15 approvals (compared with 3 2020/21 and 4 2019/20). However, on further analysis: 6 were limestone quarries, 2 were <5 hectares, 1 windfarm quarry, 4 were >250 km and 1 was >200km from Melbourne. This left 1 new, small granite quarry in the Macedon Ranges to serve as replenishment for the 2021/22 Melbourne market. Clearly, the current low rate of replenishment of supply of construction materials is unsustainable. There is an opportunity here for the Minister for Planning to become the responsible authority for extractive industry land use in the same manner that Renewable Energy Facilities are.

Proposed MRSDA reform
The proposed Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 (MRSDA) reform is a recipe for disaster in its current form. Not least because there are two very significant changes being proposed at the same times each with its own pitfalls and neither enable replenishment of supply of construction materials:
• Introduction of a “duty model,” such has occurred with WorkSafe and EPA which takes more than 3 years to implement once enacted.
• Removal of the requirement for a work plan but still requiring a Planning Permit from the relevant local government authority (LGA). Obviously, there will still be no certainty of outcome with LGAs becoming even more hostile towards quarry approvals and sophisticated social media objection campaigns by the community.

There is an opportunity to amend the introduction of the reform in consultation with the new Minister for Resources, the Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio MP.

Quarries Building Communities
CMPA recognizes the need to build community confidence in the quarry industry through a social licence to operate. It is continuing with its Quarries Building Communities campaign after the successful release of the CMPA video at the Annual Dinner 2022 followed by a short 30 second video given regional airtime on Channel 10 late last year. It is also intended to have a trial quarry open day in November 2023 with 3 or 4 quarries across Victoria supported with updated posters and flyers.

Looking forward to working with you in 2023.

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