"It’s extremely bad, in New South Wales I use the example of developing new mine that we, my company did, which was an independent company at the time, ion 1995, which is, getting on for 20 years. That approval process was a matter of a few months, the construction of the mine took about six months and we were up and running, and the cost of that approval process, which we considered at the time to be very high, was about $2m. Today the approval process can take an indefinite period of time, nobody knows how long it’s going to take because the rules are so weak and the regulations are so tortuous and the lack of common sense and good practice is so rampant that everyone, people ask me how long should this approval take, I say I’ve got no idea. And the worst part of that is that the environmental outcomes are no better. I can sort of look back at that environmental impact statement and the management control practices that were put in place in the mid ‘90s for that particular mine and look at what’s being done today and, there may be some enhancements but fundamentally we’re still doing the same things we did then but we’ve got this unending regulatory process that isn’t controlled where government … it comes back to this lack of will by the government to want to make these things happen and to … not be reckless about it or promote rapacious mining, but to have a system, recognise that the industry is important, recognise that it can be done well and have a system, which allows projects to move through in a sensible fashion. And we just don’t have that at the moment and it’s a major problem. I would say it was the biggest problem the industry faces today, is government influence and regulation."
Categories: Coal in Australia
Author: Tony Haggarty