Comment on the Assessment Bilateral Agreement - Draft Conditions Policy

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) welcomes the opportunity to provide a submission on the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) Assessment Bilateral Agreement Draft Conditions Policy. This submission is supported by the New South Wales Minerals Council, the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy and the Queensland Resources Council. 

The MCA is the peak industry organisation representing Australia’s exploration, mining and minerals processing industry, nationally and internationally, in its contribution to sustainable development and society. The MCA’s strategic objective is to advocate public policy and operational practice for a world-class industry that is safe, profitable, innovative, and environmentally and socially responsible attuned to its communities’ needs and expectations. 

The Australian minerals industry is committed to environmental regulation which is both efficient in its operation and effective in achieving the desired outcomes. The MCA strongly supports the intention to optimise the use of assessment bilaterals and the broader one stop shop reforms. A streamlined regulatory process will help increase business confidence and enhance Australia’s reputation as an investment destination for responsible development, while upholding environmental standards. 

The MCA supports the development of the draft conditions policy. A single set of approval conditions will address potential overlap and inconsistencies between state and federal approval processes. Moreover, once finalised, the policy will provide greater certainty in the operation of the assessment bilaterals. 

The MCA provides the following specific comments on the draft policy. It is important to note the comments reflect upon the NSW assessment bilateral given it is the only agreement to which the policy currently applies. The MCA understands the policy will apply to other jurisdictions as and when those agreements are updated.

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