Red tape set to be slashed for mining projects

Mining projects could get faster and simpler approval — creating more jobs — as a result of a Productivity Commission review to be announced today.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will reveal a 12-month review looking at best-practice examples of regulation to cut unnecessary red tape.

West Australian MP and close personal ally of the PM, Ben Morton, will also have oversight of the review as part of his focus on deregulation.

It is understood the review was commissioned in response to the hurdles the Adani coal mine faced to get off the ground.

The mine became a huge point of contention during the election campaign. However, Liberal National Party MP Michelle Landry, the member for Capricornia where the mine will be based, attracted an 11.2 per cent swing at the May 18 poll.

Senator Canavan, pictured, will make the Productivity Commission announcement today in a speech to an industry conference in the Hunter Valley.

“We must make sure anything like Adani does not happen again. No investor should have to wait 10 years for a yes or no answer,” Senator Canavan told The West Australian.

“Thousands of jobs rely on us doing better and I am keen to work with the States and Territories to create more jobs in resources.” While resources exports in 2018-19 reached a record of $278 billion, Mr Frydenberg said the sector was being held back by complex layers of State and Federal regulations.

“It has become harder than ever to get new resources projects off the ground, restricting the sector’s future expansion and costing jobs right across Australia,” Mr Frydenberg said.

Australia’s resources sector employs more than 247,000 people and made up 73 per cent of goods exports in 2018.

The PC study will also examine community engagement practices and principles across jurisdictions, including best-practice community engagement, land-access and benefit-sharing practices by industry, governments and other bodies.


“All Australians have a stake in the resources sector and the benefits must be shared fairly,” Mr Frydenberg said.

Looking at how to fast-track environmental approvals, one of the key things that held back Adani, would also be considered.

The work would complement the upcoming 10-year review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act by Environment Minister Sussan Ley to start in October.

The PC work will both complement and contribute to the joint Prime Minister and Cabinet/Treasury Deregulation Taskforce currently being established by Mr Morton.

The WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety in March found the State’s resources industry experienced record sales of $127.4 billion in 2018, up 16 per cent on 2017.

The rise was due to a stronger performance from liquefied natural gas producers who saw an 81 per cent increase in LNG sales.

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