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New online portal streamlines quarry reporting

Quarry operators in Victoria are now able to manage their assets through the new Resource Rights Allocation and Management (RRAM) online portal, which the Victorian Government developed in consultation with the extractive industries as part of its push to reduce red tape for the sector.

John Mitas, general manager of operations for the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources’ (DEDJTR) Earth Resources Regulation (EER) division, said the system was simple to use, and allowed quarry operators to communicate with the EER and complete regulatory business transactions online “at anytime, from anywhere”.

“The RRAM solution is a critical EER business enabler in the administration and regulation of mining and petroleum licence activities – from initial grant, authorisation to operate, fee management, operational compliance, through to rehabilitation,” he stated. “Proponents and tenement holders can [use the portal] to apply for a tenement, complete a work plan [quarry application], track the status of their application, pay fees and complete their reporting.”

Mitas added that government agencies, such as councils, as well as the general public would also be able to use the portal to review quarry applications and provide feedback and recommendations on planned quarrying activities.

A streamlined, risk-based approach

The RRAM system was developed in response to recommendations from an inquiry undertaken in 2012 by the Victorian Parliament’s Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee. The inquiry focused on greenfield minerals and extractives exploration within the state, and included an examination of possible barriers to industry growth.

Cement Concrete Aggregates Australia (CCAA) chaired the joint industry and government committee responsible for advising the DEDJTR on the implementation of the inquiry’s suggested reforms, and Brian Hauser, CCAA’s state director for Victoria and Tasmania, told Quarry the introduction of the online portal had been timely.

“At a time when the Victorian Government is forecasting the highest population growth of any state and $22 billion of infrastructure investment, there has never been a more critical time for a more efficient approvals process for quarries,” he said.

“Our members expect the new RRAM system to deliver a more streamlined and efficient approvals process to ensure variations to existing operations and new quarries will come [into play] faster at lower cost with greater certainty for the proponent.”

Hauser said the inquiry had additionally recommended that a risk-based approach be taken towards quarry applications and regulation, and that this reform had also been implemented through the new RRAM system.

“The work plan will no longer be a long narrative describing the site, but rather a more succinct document that identifies the risks that the operation may pose and the steps that will be taken to minimise those risks as far as reasonably practicable,” he explained.

It will become mandatory for Victorian quarry proponents to submit documentation through the RRAM online portal from January 2016. Until then, CCAA is encouraging feedback on the system, which can be emailed to John Mitas or to CCAA’s industry relations manager for Victoria Roger Buckley.

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