Inquiry to question exploration regulation

A new inquiry will look into the regulatory barriers faced by minerals and resource exploration companies.

A new inquiry will look into the regulatory barriers faced by minerals and resource exploration companies.

Assistant treasurer, David Bradbury, and the minister for resources and energy, Martin Ferguson today announced the inquiry into Non-Financial Barriers to Mineral and Energy Resource Exploration.

Ferguson said the inquiry will outline reform options to address barriers to exploration for mineral and energy resources in Australia.

“The Inquiry will examine exploration approvals systems and processes, within and across jurisdictions, to assess their effectiveness and efficiency,” Ferguson said.

“The Productivity Commission will commence the Inquiry this month and will release a draft report for consultation and conduct public hearings before the final report is delivered in twelve months,” Bradbury explained.

The mining industry has been accused of over-regulation, affecting the level of sovereign investment as Australia is seen as a complicated and costly place to do business. 

The report released by law firm Baker & McKenzie found that 61% of those surveyed believed there is too much government involvement in the mining industry and pointed to reducing the complexity of mining regulation so companies were less likely to spend their capital elsewhere.

Billionaire Gina Rinehart has also flagged “excessive” taxation and regulation has key problems hampering growth.

“You’ve got to remember we’re not the only people with commodities,” she said late last year.

However, while the inquiry will assess duplication across state, territory and Commonwealth regulation, the issues of taxation, fiscal policy, financial incentives, fees, charges and royalties will all be left off the agenda.

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