WA budgets A$120m to streamline approvals

21st July 2021 By: Esmarie Iannucci - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (Amec) has welcomed an announcement by the Western Australian government that it would invest a further A$120-million into streamlining the state’s approval system for major capital projects.

In the 2021/22 state Budget, to be handed down in September, the state government has allocated A$120-million for more than 150 frontline officers in five agencies to speed up project approvals.

Extra resources have been allocated to the departments of Planning, Lands and Heritage; Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS); Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions; Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation; and Water and Environmental Regulation.

The package includes the delivery of the government’s election commitment to invest A$27.4-million in DMIRS to deliver mining approval reform.

“Development in the mining, oil and gas, tourism and agricultural industries is vital to sustain economic growth and deliver Western Australian jobs,” said Premier Mark McGowan.

“We are in the fortunate position of having the strongest economy in the nation, but we cannot be complacent as there are billions of dollars' worth of capital projects in the approvals pipeline.

“These additional officers will enable key agencies to meet the demand for timely assessments and approvals, while ensuring the protection of our environment, heritage, and of worker and community safety. 

“There is plenty of room to improve regulation to make it more transparent, predictable, seamless and efficient, and ensure the community has high confidence in it.

“These extra resources, which include a dedicated red-tape reduction team - represent the single biggest investment in approvals in the state's history.” 

Amec on Wednesday said that the investment marked the delivery of an election commitment to reform the mining approvals process as part of the Streamline Western Australia initiative, designed to reduce red tape to make it easier to do business in Western Australia by improving industry regulation and regulatory practice.

“The rapid growth of Western Australia’s mining and mineral exploration sector is putting significant pressure on the government approvals process. This resourcing support for the state’s key approval agencies can’t come soon enough as economic development activities in Western Australia continue to surge,” said Amec CEO Warren Pearce.

“Amec has been a strong advocate for significant regulatory reform to the approvals process and for greater resourcing to support the efforts of the state’s approvals officers. This announcement is a positive outcome for the mining and exploration industry.”

“With greater resourcing in the approvals processes, Western Australia will be able to bring forward billions of dollars’ worth of capital projects, moving them through the pipeline and into development.” said Pearce.