Sweeping changes to resources advisory group

Victoria’s Earth Resources Ministerial Advisory Council recently expanded to include representatives from the community, unions and environmental groups, in addition to industry.

Previously, the council – which is responsible for providing advice to the Victorian Energy and Resources Minister on the development of the resources sector – comprised representatives from industry peak bodies, water catchment management authorities and local government.

According to a media statement released by the Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources Lily D’Ambrosio, the new, expanded 15-member council would provide a greater range of views on how the state could attract investment for the resources sector, provide effective and efficient regulation and increase community confidence in the industry.

“Broadening the council will help the government develop Victoria’s resources sector to create jobs and grow local economies while balancing environmental issues and community concerns,” D’Ambrosio stated.

“We are developing a new approach to mineral resource exploration and development in Victoria to make sure the community and industry have confidence and certainty in how decisions are made.”

The council is chaired by Dr Richard Aldous, former CEO of the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies, and its membership includes Brian Hauser of Cement Concrete and Aggregates Australia (CCAA) and Dr Elizabeth Gibson of the Construction Material Processors Association.

Rebuilding confidence, trust

The changes to the ministerial advisory council come amid a series of reforms to the Earth Resources Regulation branch of the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) in response to a Statement of Expectations issued by D’Ambrosio in September 2015.

“Community confidence in the regulation of earth resources is low and I expect Earth Resources Regulation to significantly improve its performance to rebuild confidence and trust,” D’Ambrosio said in the statement.

The DEDJTR released the Earth Resources Regulation Action Plan in October 2015, which outlined the department’s reform goals and schedule. The document included plans to improve regulation in the areas of role clarity, risk-based strategies, timeliness, stakeholder consultation and engagement, and communication and transparency.

“These are welcome and substantial reforms that have the potential to benefit both industry and the wider community to ensure an affordable supply of heavy construction materials to build the much needed homes, schools, roads and critical infrastructure Victoria needs,” a CCAA media release stated.

Earth Resources Regulation is Victoria’s resources and mining industry regulator and is responsible for licensing, risk management, compliance and enforcement activities, and community engagement.

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