The Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee’s report on the benefits, drivers of, and barriers to, greenfields mineral exploration and development in Victoria, was tabled in the Victorian Parliament on May 22.
The committee kicked off the inquiry in June 2011 to examine the causes of why Victoria lagged behind other Australian states in developing resource projects.
While the report found Victoria possessed very strong mineral prospectively, it was clear that it was having trouble capitalising on its resources.
Among the reports 25 recommendations was that the government develop a "one-Âstop-shop" framework to provide a single point of entry into Victoria’s regulatory system for exploration and production.
“This will require a whole of government commitment to the resources sector and for this position to be communicated widely to the sector and, crucially, the Victorian community,” the inquiry found.
Committee chair Neale Burgess said Victorians were missing out on Australia’s resource boom.
“Without exploration, Victoria is unable to reap the investment, employment and other benefits that mining can bring to a community,” the inquiry said.
The inquiry also found that new and improved research partnerships between government, universities and industry would assist to develop capacity in the Victorian resources sector.
The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies welcomed the report and the recommendations outlined to help boost the states ailing resources development sector.
“The report highlights why Victoria is placed last when compared to all other Australian jurisdictions by the highly respected Fraser institute 2011/12 report, and placed 44th out of the 93 global jurisdictions included in the survey,” AMEC national policy manager Graham Short said.
Short said he welcomed the recommendations that emphasised the need for improved education, research, innovation and strategic planning.
“Although the committee has made 25 recommendations, there are still several matters that require priority attention by government, such as the tenure of exploration licences, exploration incentives, future research initiatives and the increased production of pre-competitive geosciences,” Short said.
Other recommendations included the need to establish a process which determines local infrastructure requirements for mining development projects and consider ways of improving access to Crown land for mineral exploration.
The committee met with and took evidence from 80 witnesses representing 44 organisations and also visited two mineral exploration and mining operation in regional Victoria to help derive the recommendations.
This article first appeared in ILN's sister publication MiningNews.net.