By on July 3, 2003

A review of the Extractive Industries Development Act as a part of National Competition Policy has recommended that the current method of statutory appointment of quarry managers be discontinued in favour of industry managed accreditation.

The review team’s recommendation considered the system of statutory appointment of quarry managers to be unnecessary, believing it places the industry in a subservient position to the Department in regulating quarry manager’s certification.

The recommendation further said quarry manager’s certification was essentially competency testing and that it was not the Government’s role to provide training in these competencies.

The Government has agreed with the review board’s recommendations and proposed to phase out the quarry managers certification over a ‘reasonable period’ of about two to three years.

Victoria’s Chief Inspector of Quarries, John Mitas, said the National Competition Policy position was in line with the position taken on the certification of mine manager’s certification that was similarly abolished some two years ago.

“All other jurisdictions are moving away from the certification of quarry managers,” Mr Mitas said.

“The only state that currently has quarry manager’s certification is Western Australia.”

Mr Mitas said the certification system had been successful and had delivered good OH&S and environmental outcomes for Victoria.

Mr Mitas said future quarry management certification should be assessed and managed by industry associations or professional bodies.

“My thoughts are to set up a similar process under the Institute of Quarrying – not unlike the membership process for the Institute of Engineers and the CPA for accountants.”

Mr Mitas said the Institute of Quarrying had been approached and had expressed interest in managing the certification process.

While the review will also see the disbanding of the Quarry Manager’s Advisory Panel, Mr Mitas said he did not believe this would distance the Department from the industry.

“The quarrying industry is a key stakeholder and the department will continue to work with the CMPA and the Extractive Industry Association of Victoria to improve OH&S and environmental performance (of quarries).”

The Department would support and continue to work with an external QMAB if necessary, Mr Mitas indicated.

The framework for a certification process is already provided in the National Competency Standards for Extractive Industries.  Mr Mitas said the Department did not hold any concerns for the credibility of quarry manager’s certification in the future as any system would need to conform to quality assurance practices.

The CMPA has expressed concern that discontinuation of the Department’s role with certification will possibly impact the calibre of quarry manager’s and subsequently affect safety in the industry.

Mr Mitas, however, assured the industry that the Department was committed to industry safety.

“The duties under the Act and regulations will not diminish. I am confident that working with the industry will achieve better safety outcomes.”

The Department was not distancing itself from the industry through the recommendations but rather aligning Victoria with most other states’ approach to quarry manager’s certification and also that of mine managers in Victoria, Mr Mitas indicated.

The certification of quarry manager’s is set to be removed from the Act in the spring sitting of State Parliament.

The CMPA is analysing the options available to the industry to ensure any future certification process produces professional outcomes.

Stay tuned next issue for the other side to this story.  CMPA News will provide the perspective of current and perspective Quarry Managers.

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