Miners lament passing of EPOLA Bill in Qld

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30th March 2023

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia


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PERTH ( – The Queensland government this week passed the Environment Protection and Other Legislation (EPOLA) Bill, despite concerns from industry bodies.

The government said that the new legislation provides greater certainty for the community and industry, including a change that would give the regulator power to end an environmental impact statement (EIS) process where a proposal is clearly unacceptable and would be unlikely to gain approvals or contravenes laws, as is.

It introduces an ‘early no’ step in the EIS process so that community and project proponents know early in the piece that a project will not receive approvals as proposed, saving industry and the regulator time and money.

Under the legislation, public notification must now occur for any major amendments to environmental authorities for resource-sector projects to make sure local communities are aware and can have their say.

“Community expectations, technology and industry are evolving – and it’s vital that our laws remain modern and reflect the changes we’re seeing,” said Queensland Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon.

“This is about making sure that we have certainty for landowners and industry, while also making sure that we continue to protect our environment and that the independent regulator can be effective in its role.

“It’s also important that executive officers who do the wrong thing can be held accountable for their acts or omissions, and these changes reflect the original intent and will prevent directors avoiding potential liability by resigning from their role.

“We’ve listened to what stakeholders have told us, and we’ll also see support through short-term environmental authorities for non-resource activities to trial innovations as well as measures to assist Queensland industry and individuals to meet their environmental requirements in an emergency situation.”

The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (Amec) said that the government passed the Bill despite strong opposition from industry bodies, including the Queensland Resources Council and the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (Appea).

“The EPOLA legislation embeds changes that are a backwards step for Queensland’s resources sector," said Amec CEO, Warren Pearce.

“The process that supported it was not transparent, collaborative, or appropriate, for a piece of legislation with such significant implications for industry.

“Put simply, this Bill makes it harder to develop minerals and do business in Queensland. The signal this sends to investors is that Queensland is not open for business and industry finds this highly concerning.

“This is at complete odds with the Premier and her government's stated goals and objectives for Queensland’s critical minerals sector.”

“While the government sends signals in other areas that it is open for business, it is the regulation that will make or break Queensland’s ability to deliver the minerals that Queensland and the world needs to achieve energy transition,” Pearce said.

“How else will this government deliver on their decarbonisation and transition commitments if they continue to increase red tape for mineral developers?”

"This is an unjustified systemic change, in response to discrete standalone incidences. Instead, the government should be focusing on the performance of the Department of Environment and Science, not the minerals sector,” said Pearce.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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