A review of regulatory change affecting Victoria’s mining sector - 2011

This report examines changes in Victorian regulation affecting the mining sector. KPMG has primarily focussed on the period since July 2004 when the then Victorian Government launched an inquiry into regulation affecting regional Victoria, which had a substantial focus on improving the regulation of the mining sector.

Successive Victorian Governments have committed to reduce unnecessary regulation and improve the effectiveness of necessary regulation. However, the mining sector has expressed concerns about increases in regulation, and since 2004, the volume of pages in the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990, the main Act affecting the mining sector, has grown by 49 percent.

The Victorian Government (the Government) has launched independent and parliamentary inquiries, commissioned reports, and undertaken extensive consultations as one tool to improve the effectiveness of regulation and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens. More inquiries are underway, or are awaiting a formal Government response. The associated public processes are an important means to improve regulation, but involve a substantial investment in time by both the Government and by stakeholders.

KPMG reviewed seven Government inquiries, reports and papers and identified 126 recommendations, or commitments to actions, intended to improve the regulation that affected the mining sector.

The available information suggests that overall the Government has implemented 25 percent of the recommendations, or the actions outlined in a government response. In 9 percent of cases, the Government response rejected the recommendation, or did not commit to a specific action.

Of the recommendations, 12 percent are partially implemented and 9 percent are in progress. For 45 percent of the recommendations, there is no evidence that they have been implemented. Of this 45 percent, there is no public evidence of implementation for 60 percent of the recommendations, even though they were supported by Government.

The remaining 40 percent have not been implemented, although there was no indication that the Government has supported (or rejected) the recommendations when they were released (Figure 1).

This report demonstrates that the current level of public reporting makes it difficult for those who contribute to these policy processes and the broader community, to assess the extent to which commitments to remove or improve regulation have been achieved. There may be good reasons to reject the recommendations of inquiries and other reports, or to delay the implementation of those that are supported by Government. Priorities can change or new issues and information emerge. However, currently there is no reporting of these reasons or developments to provide a full view of Government’s progress on these matters.

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