From the Secretariat (Issue 113)

By on November 18, 2020

Hurdles in obtaining quarry approval

DR ELIZABETH GIBSON, General Manager of the CMPA.

There has been some positive news this year in the extractive industry space involving planning.

Firstly, a certain Shire Council, took a short-sighted view to the extractive industry (and its contribution to the Victorian economy), and invoked a planning scheme that saw new extractive industry quarry sites banned within the Shire. When a CMPA Member found that the Shire refused a planning permit for an expansion of their quarry using the justification that it amounted to a new quarry, they took this decision to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). VCAT found that among other things pursuant to section 149A of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and made the following declarations:

A planning permit can be granted under the provisions of the Shire Planning Scheme to use the site for extractive industry that is an expansion of the existing extractive industry operation on the Quarry Land. Note full details may be found at https://www.vcat.vic.gov.au/the-vcat-process/decisions

Secondly, another Shire Council, not particularly fond of the extractive industry either, decided to view one of the few greenfield site hard rock quarry applications as irrelevant despite residential development accelerating in the Shire.

However, in the Victorian Planning Hearing Panel Report the Panel made “17 recommendations with the recommendation in chief to revise the amendment to explicitly include precinct level planning for resource extraction from the Work Authority”. However, this is just one of the many hurdles that CMPA Members have to undertake in order to gain approval for their quarries.

Of less positive news is the persistence of Earth Resources Regulation (ERR) in preventing (inadvertently) quarries and quarry expansions from being approved with the release of new guidance that adds complexity, cost, confusion, and burden to the extractive industry. Namely, “Work plan and work plan variation guidelines October 2020”; ERR’s “Geotechnical guideline on terminal and rehabilitated slopes September 2020” (note that WorkSafe is preparing a separate guideline for operating slopes); and “Changes to operating hours – extractive operations, consultation draft October 2020”.

Please read further in this issue of Sand & Stone for articles on
these documents.

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