The Victorian government has announced a number of reforms that it says will cut red tape and boost productivity and investment in the state’s mining sector.
While the first mining boom started in Victorian with the gold rush, mining in the state has since lagged behind other regions.
New South Wales and Queensland with their massive coalfields and copper gold deposits, Western Australia with a large chunk of the world's iron ore, and South Australia and the Northern Territory with their uranium deposits as well as high copper levels.
Even Tasmania, Australia's greenest state, has been seen as more favourable to mining in recent years than Victoria.
In 2012 Victoria was ranked the worst for all Australian states by the global Fraser Institute survey in terms of how miners rated the government regulation and ease of doing business.
But the Victorian Government is determined to change this, announcing it will spend spend $31.7 million over the next four years on programs designed to build and sustain its mining industry.
Acting Premier and Minister for State Development Peter Ryan along with Treasurer Michael O’Brien this week announced 36 red tape reforms they say will benefit many sectors of Victoria’s economy and attract more business to the state.
For mining this means cutting costs, streamlining the mining application process and offering up crown land for rehabilitation purposes.
Red Tape reforms:
Crown land used for vegetation rehabilitation
Currently native vegetation offsets for private land clearing can only be sourced on private land, with offsets on crown land limited. This reform will mean miners can develop rehabilitation programs on public land, making it cheaper and easier for companies to meet rehabilitation standards.
Bonds for land rehabilitation by instalment
Current bond requirements for miners requires 100 per cent of the money upfront, meaning costs can run into the millions of dollars.
This reform will slash the rehabilitation bond by up to 50 per cent during the start-up phase of new mining and quarrying projects where the risk of default is low.
In addition the government also plans to introduce a cash bond for individual bonds up to $100,000 as an alternative to bank guarantees.
Return of bonds for land rehabilitation
The government says the current process for the return of the rehabilitation bond is protracted and will streamline the return process to mining operators to ensure the money is repaid as soon as possible following the successful completion of landowner consultation.
Mining information online
After more than 150 years, the Victorian Government will do away with paper and move the mining exploration licence system online.
O’Brien said the red tape reforms would translate to a saving of more than $715 million for businesses in the sector.
Ryan acknowledged the work of Red Tape Commissioner John Lloyd, stating that cutting regulation was crucial for business.
"Mr Lloyd met with 25 different associations as well as a significant number of individual businesses, before putting his reform proposals forward," he said.