Victoria’s Earth Resources Regulator has approved a work plan variation for the expansion of a basalt quarry in the Mount Alexander Shire, 130 kilometres northwest of Melbourne.
The quarry has been added to the Regulator’s Extractive Industry Priority Project list, along with 10 other approved projects.
Executive director of Earth Resources Policy and Programs Jane Burton said the list is important in the growth and development of Victoria.
“The priority project list aims to speed up the assessment of applications to expand or increase production from quarries that provide important resources for construction but doesn’t guarantee approval,” Burton said.
While being placed on the list is a promised step for any business or development, there are still several steps needed before the project is actioned.
“Each application is assessed by Earth Resources Regulation on its merits to ensure that safeguards will be in place to protect public safety and the environment. Planning approval is still required, and proposals may also need to get environmental, cultural heritage and other government approvals,” Burton said.
Projects on the list generally fall within a designated extractive supply area which surrounds Melbourne, in order to reduce transport and subsequent emissions and materials costs.
Quarries are eligible to be on the list if they are located in areas with highest demand for raw building materials and are seeking to expand production, which requires a planning permit.
As is generally expected of quarrying businesses, Burton said the opinions of local communities are as important as ever, in deciding on which projects are approved.
“Community feedback remains an important part of the assessment and planning process,” she said. “Operators are required to advertise their application and must continue to consult locally about their activities.”
Applicants are able to request that the state Minister for Planning call in their application, instead of council.
An example of this is currently seen in an application to expand the Dandy Premix quarry in Grantville, which is under consideration by the Minister.
To view the Extractive Industry Priority Project List, and to learn more about which quarrying sites are eligible to be on the list, visit the Earth Resources website.