The past few years have seen constant change in the legislation
governing the approval of resources projects.
The Productivity Commission has recently released a report
entitled "Research Report into Major Project Development
Assessment Processes" (Report), identifying improvements that
can be made to the approval process for major projects.
The Report provides resource companies with independent and
objective recommendations which they can use in submissions to
government on proposed regulatory amendments.
The relevant recommendations include:
Introducing statutory maximum timeframes for assessment
agencies and decision makers to make decisions or recommendations
Introducing cooperative arrangements between regulatory
agencies within the same jurisdiction for joint or substitutable
assessments, to minimise duplication between assessment processes
Commonwealth, State and Territory governments expanding and
strengthening bilateral assessment agreements and negotiating for
bilateral approval agreements (Recommendations 6.1, 7.1 and
Requiring governments to provide clear, upfront information and
guidance on assessment and approval pathways, including details
about the process, information requirements, assessment criteria,
standard and model conditions, and statutory timelines
Legislative guidance should be provided for decision makers to
follow when making approval decisions, including the factors that
decision makers need to take into account when reaching decisions
Requiring decision makers to publish assessment reports and
reasons (including identifying any risks being mitigated) for all
approval decisions and conditions for major projects
Suggesting governments use Strategic Assessments in
circumstances where it is likely to produce a reduction in the
costs of project approval, while delivering environmental and other
regulatory outcomes that are equal or superior to those achieved
under other processes (Recommendation 11.1).
It is a common misconception that the grant of mining tenure, whether it be an Exploration Permit, Mineral Development Licence or Mining Lease, will entitle the holder to access all land within it in order to explore or mine.
This briefing note sets out a likely structure for the proposed privatisation of the networks and identifies key issues.
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