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The Federal Government is looking to remove hurdles to mining projects going through the approvals process.

Streamlining regulation in the resources sector will be the focus of a 12-month review by the Productivity Commission.

Speaking at the NSW Mining Health, Safety, Environment and Community Conference, Resources Minister Matt Canavan said the delays experienced in the case of Adani’s Carmichael coal project must not be repeated.

“We can’t let something like Adani happen again,” he said.

“No investor should be made to wait 10 years to get a yes or no answer. The development of our resources are too important to allow fringe, activists to hijack the processes for their own narrow ends.

“The timely development of our resources are important for the direct jobs they generate but in many cases unnecessary delays have wider implications for other industries that rely on secure and affordable resources as inputs.”

The Federal Government says the Productivity Commission will look at best-practice examples of regulation that remove unnecessary costs for business, while maintaining sound oversight.

In a joint statement with Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and cabinet Ben Morton, Senator Canavan said Australia’s resources sector played a vital role in sustaining national prosperity, employing more than 247,000 people as at May 2019, and making up 73 per cent of goods exports in 2018.
“It is however being held back by complex layers of state and federal regulations.”

In particular, improving the efficiency of environmental approvals would reduce the regulatory burden on business, Senator Canavan said.

“This ( Productivity Commission) work will complement the statutory review of national environmental protection law – the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 – due to commence in October 2019,” he said.

“The aim is to ensure that resources projects are transparently and efficiently assessed while upholding robust environmental standards.”

The study will also examine as a priority community engagement practices and principles across jurisdictions, including best-practice community engagement, land-access and benefit-sharing practices by industry, governments and other bodies.

Move to streamline mining approvals process