The Victorian Government has introduced a Bill into Parliament that will implement another layer of industry-wide regulation funded by a new industry levy, the Minerals Council of Australia’s Victorian executive director Chris Fraser told MINING DAILY.
The Bill was introduced in response to an Inquiry made by industry mine warden Tim Sullivan into the Yallourn mine batter failure in November 2007.
In the early hours of Wednesday 14 November, Tru Energy’s Yallourn Coal Mine experienced a major collapse on the northern batter of the east field pit.
This resulted in damage to mine infrastructure, halting of coal production and an inflow of the Latrobe River into the open pit mine.
Fraser said the Minerals Council had no objections to the mine warden’s report. However, Fraser said the Government’s response was uninformed and ‘over the top’.
“The Government is preparing to establish a technical reference panel to review the geotechnical plans and activities of all mines,” Fraser said.
“Mines will be forced to produce a technical report to the reference panel, which will undoubtedly add thousands of dollars in consultancy fees to each mine.
“Not only have they not discussed this change with mine owners, they have not even sought advice from industry experts to determine whether or not these changes will suit each site. Moreover, they are intending to implement a levy on the mining industry that will pay for these changes,” he said.
According to Fraser, this new layer of red tape is unlikely to improve business, environmental or safety outcomes in the Victorian mining sector and comes at a time when all other Governments are seeking to reduce the regulatory burden on business.
“Whilst some of the key actions arising from the report will ensure better cross-agency co-ordination on issues such as water, planning and education and will strengthen the Department of Primary Industries, these are a primary responsibility of Government and should not need additional funding through what is effectively another tax on the Victorian minerals sector,” Fraser said.
“It is disappointing that consultation with the industry on the workability of the final recommendations did not occur despite the fact that the minerals sector will now be required to manage the burden of this additional red-tape.