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MCA criticises report into Victorian EPA

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World Coal,

The Victorian Division of the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has criticised the findings of an independent inquiry into the state’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). The inquiry found that “the mining industry [does not] face the same level of environmental regulation as other industries with a similar risk profile or scale.”

“This is clearly inaccurate,” said Megan Davison, Executive Director – Victoria and the MCA. “The minerals industry is one of the most highly regulated industries and must abide by all state and relevant Commonwealth environmental laws.”

The inquiry was undertaken on the instruction of the Victorian Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water to examine the Environmental Protection Authority’s role, power, governance and funding, and tools.

In its submission to the independent inquiry, the MCA argued that the EPA “does not possess the technical ability to advise on the range of complex issues considered in licensing the minerals industry.”

As a result, inaccurate or inconsistent advice and a lack of decision-making capability causes significant delays and impacts the operability of sites, continued Davision, citing an example of a project that was delayed by 11 months while the EPA considered whether it required an EPA works approval or license.

Davison also argued that everything recommended by the independent inquiry as related to the minerals industry was already being regulated by one or more state regulators.

“Rather than an efficient, whole-of-government regulatory regime, the industry is experiencing a further fracturing of the approval process with each regulatory not only protecting their ‘patch’ but expanding it,” concluded Davison. “Unless a true one-stop-shop for regulation of the minerals industry is established via the EPA, these recommendations cannot be agreed to by government.”

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