Senate Committee Review - EPBC Amendment Bill 2012

The Minerals Council of Australia welcomes the opportunity to provide a submission to the Senate Committee Review of the EPBC Amendment (Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development) Bill 2012.

As you are aware, the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) represents over 85% of minerals production in Australia. The MCA’s strategic objective is to advocate public policy and operational practice for a world class industry that is safe, profitable, innovative, environmentally responsible and attuned to community needs and expectations.

MCA members have a long-standing commitment to sustainable development and the effective management of Australia’s water resources Although the minerals industry is a comparatively small user of water, currently utilising 3.6% of consumptive use water1 nationally, the economic return provided from that use is significant at the national, regional and local level.

The MCA supports greater investment in improving the understanding of water systems and resources and the development of a scientific information base to inform planning and environmental decision processes. The MCA also supports the development of regionally based, integrated approaches to resource management.

Many of the proposed functions of the Independent Expert Scientific Committee outlined in Amendment Bill align with these approaches, including the collection, analysis and dissemination of scientific information; priority research; and the facilitation of bioregional assessments. However, careful consideration is required to ensure that the development of the Independent Scientific Advisory Committee process does not lead to unintended impacts such as unduly delaying environmental assessments and approvals or duplicating existing processes.

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