The Queensland Government’s Resources Industry Development Plan has been given the industry’s stamp of approval, as it outlines a new framework to identify key resource areas.
The plan outlines 43 actions to be addressed by 2050 which will address six key focus areas:
- Growing and diversifying the industry.
- Strengthening ESG credentials and protecting the environment.
- Fostering co-existence and sustainable communities.
- Ensuring strong and genuine First Nations partnerships.
- Building a safe and resilient workforce.
- Improving regulatory efficiency.
Action number 42 is of specific interest to the quarrying industry, as it calls for the development of “a fit-for-purpose framework for extractive industry assessment”.
“The State Planning Policy states that when KRAs (key resource areas) are identified, the relevant local government must protect the extractive resource through provisions in its planning scheme,” the plan reads.
“This framework will balance the impacts of extractive industries with local and state need for construction materials to support infrastructure priorities.”
This framework is to be developed from 2022-23 as the Queensland construction sector ramps up in its recovery from the pandemic.
Cement Concrete & Aggregates Australia’s (CCAA) Queensland state directorAaron Johnstone said this plan would address a significant issue for Queensland.
“Quarry assessment and approval processes has been a long-standing issue for our industry, and we are very encouraged that this reform area has been included in the draft plan,” Johnstone said.
“A better assessment framework will help to manage infrastructure costs, and prevent materials from being transported from further distances, with long-haul truck movements contributing to higher greenhouse emissions.
“Recent quarry refusals in southeast Queensland have highlighted the need for reform.”
The CCAA estimates that Southeast Queensland’s construction sector requires about thirty million tonnes of locally sourced quarry materials per year, with that number expected to grow along with the population.
The plan is open for consultation until February 2022 with a final plan scheduled for release in mid-2022.
Before then, Stewart said several parties would work to ensure regulatory systems were up to scratch.
“Our government is committed to working with industry to reform processes to provide greater certainty for investment,” Stewart said.
“The Queensland Law Reform Commission will review objections processes in consultation with the community and the terms of reference will be developed in consultation with the Commission and stakeholders.”
Read the plan in full, here.