Inquiry into Greenfields – Recommendations to Parliament

By on June 26, 2012

BRUCE McCLURE, General Manager of the CMPA comments on the report recently presented to State Parliament on Greenfields Mineral Exploration and Project Development in Victoria which was set up by the Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee from the Victorian Parliament. Continuation of his article from page five of this edition of Sand & Stone.

IT is considered that the following recommendations do impact on our members and the government needs to be encouraged to consider these recommendations as applicable to both the extractive industries and the mining sector.

The recommendations are:

3: That the Victorian Government adopts an integrated, whole-of government approach to the state’s resources sector, supported by clear and consistent policies, and that this policy is widely communicated to the resources sector and the broader Victorian community to demonstrate strong support for the sector and its future.

4: That the Victorian Government works with industry to develop and support a comprehensive community education program that promotes the value of the resources sector to the state.

6: That the Victorian Government develops a state-wide integrated, strategic land use policy framework to better manage competing land uses in Victoria. This framework should be subject to periodic review giving consideration to economic, social and environmental factors.

7: As part of the development of an integrated state-wide strategic land use framework, that the Victorian Government ensures studies are undertaken to determine areas of high prospectively for extractives and future extractives needs in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

8: That the findings of the extractives prospectively and future needs studies be incorporated into the state-wide strategic land use framework, be protected in local planning schemes, and have appropriate post-extractive uses identified that are consistent with and sensitive to abutting areas.

9: That the Victorian Government reviews the system in which landholders are notified by mineral or extractive licence applications covering their land, to ensure, where appropriate, directly affected landholders receive timely, written notification.

13: That the Victorian Government considers ways of improving access to Crown land for mineral exploration as part of the wider review of land use priorities in Victoria.

14: That the Victorian Government conducts a review of compensation agreements under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 to encourage fair outcomes for those with a specified beneficial interest directly and adversely affected by mineral exploration.

15: That the Victorian Government reviews the current rehabilitation bond system in comparison with alternative existing mechanisms, taking into account the end-of-mine-life environmental legacies, whilst honouring obligations for rehabilitation of specific sites.

16: That the Victorian Government examines the feasibility of reducing or removing royalty charges on overburden material for extractive developments.

18: That the Victorian Government establishes statutory time frames under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990. These time frames must be binding upon the Department of Primary Industries and its referral agencies, incorporated into annual reporting requirements and be equivalent to Australian best practice.

19: That the Victorian Government considers redirecting the regulatory focus of exploration, mining and extractive work plans towards outcomes and away from prescriptive conditions, in order to better manage risk and achieve socially, economically and environmentally sound outcomes.

20: That the Victorian Government considers the recommendations of the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission’s report a sustainable future for Victoria: getting environmental regulation right (2009) to improve the transparency and efficiency of the Environmental Effects Statement process in Victoria.

21: That the Victorian Government develops a ‘one-stop-shop’ framework to provide a single point of entry into Victoria’s regulatory system for the full range of resource sector activities from exploration to production under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990.

22: That the Victorian Government considers the recommendation of the Policy Transition Group’s Report to the Australian Government (2010) that the Productivity Commission be directed to conduct a review of regulatory barriers faced by exploration companies in Australia.

24: That the Victorian Government strengthens Victoria’s role in research and innovation, through facilitation of partnerships between the Government, universities and the resources sector.

25: That the Victorian Government establishes a process that determines local infrastructure requirements for mining development projects, facilitates plans to meet those needs, identifies appropriate funding models, and minimises adverse effects while maximising benefits for local communities.

It is important to note that a majority of the above recommendations have been placed before government either in a submission on issues affecting the extractive industries or as a request because of proposed changes to regulations and departmental structures. The obvious question from this inquiry is when will the government and relevant departments finally take note of the knowledge, the experience and advice of people who run good family extractive industry businesses in this state.

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