WA environmental reports go strictly digital

WESTERN Australian resource companies will be required to lodge all annual environmental reports online as of July 1 as the government tightens standards for approvals process efficiency and transparency.
WA environmental reports go strictly digital WA environmental reports go strictly digital WA environmental reports go strictly digital WA environmental reports go strictly digital WA environmental reports go strictly digital

 

Justin Niessner

The WA Department of Mines and Petroleum said any hardcopy environmental reports submitted after the start of July would be automatically rejected.

The change will not apply to mining proposals.

WA Mining Minister Bill Marmion said the initiative was aimed at improving data consistency and allowing the public to have easy access to detailed environmental plans.

“It will also provide the public with easily accessible information on how resource companies are responding to their environmental responsibilities,” he said.

Marmion said while the online protocol was launched in December last year, compulsory use of the system would provide a number of efficiency benefits to companies.

“For instance, the information submitted in online AERs can be used in other submissions such as future AERs, programs of work and mining rehabilitation fund assessments,” he said.

The department said there were already more than 100 registered industry users of the system.

Users of the environmental assessment and regulatory system for tracking and submitting applications and compliance reports must be registered against a company in order to access the information.

Applications received by the department are strictly confidential and as such will only be displayed to the registered company that lodged the form.

Since introducing online lodgement and approvals tracking in 2010, more than 90% of the department’s key approval processes are available online.

In 2012, the department received more than 7000 mining, petroleum and geothermal applications.

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