Productivity Commission to Review Resources Sector Regulation

Streamlining regulation in the resources sector will be the focus of a 12-month review by the Productivity Commission.

The Productivity Commission will look at best-practice examples of regulation that removes unnecessary costs for business, while maintaining sound oversight.

Australia’s resources sector plays a vital role in sustaining our national prosperity employing more than 247,000 people as at May 2019 and making up 73 per cent of goods exports in 2018. It is however being held back by complex layers of state and federal regulations.

While resources exports in the 2018-19 financial year reached an all-time record of $278 billion, we cannot take this success for granted. 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.

The Productivity Commission will examine regulatory settings across the sector to highlight best-practice examples from across Australia and against our global peers.

In particular, improving the efficiency of environmental approvals would reduce the regulatory burden on business. This work will complement the statutory review of national environmental protection law – the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 – due to commence in October 2019. The aim is to ensure that resources projects are transparently and efficiently assessed while upholding robust environmental standards.

The study will also examine as a priority 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. 

The review is an important part of the Government’s regulatory reform agenda which is tackling a range of barriers to investment in key industries and activities, with the aim of boosting efficiency, productivity and job creation. The Productivity Commission work will both complement and contribute to the joint Prime Minister and Cabinet/Treasury Deregulation Taskforce currently being established by Assistant Minister Morton.

The Productivity Commission review also delivers on a commitment in the Government’s National Resources Statement to assess regulatory settings across the Australian resources sector, and delivers on a joint commitment by the COAG (Council of Australian Governments) Resources Ministers to examine best-practice resources sector regulation across Australia.

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