Industry groups hailed the bill as an encouraging step but more work was needed to remove administrative and regulatory barriers that place projects at risk in Queensland.
Association of Mining and Exploration Companies Queensland and Northern Territory regional manager Bernie Hogan said AMEC had discussions with various departments to achieve the proposed changes to the land access framework, statutory regional planning and the replacement of detrimental wild rivers declarations that potentially locked away highly prospective areas of Queensland.
Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps said while the bill streamlined the approval process for resource projects, it did not water down rigorous environmental assessment mechanisms.
"The resources sector is one of the four pillars of Queensland's economy, and our aim is to support the sustainable growth of this industry," Cripps said.
"Companies willing to invest in Queensland with the aim of delivering jobs for Queenslanders will not be hindered by this government.
"We are in the business of getting Queensland back on track, not preventing economic prosperity for regional areas by drowning the resources sector in paperwork.”
Cripps said the major components of the bill included modernising the tenure administration system and reducing the time taken for each tenure decision under the streamlining approvals project and clarifying legislation so resource activities (such as exploration) and development activities (such as transport and infrastructure development) could coexist.
He said the bill would also clarify an application of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to hazardous chemicals and major hazard facilities and streamline the rules applying to the management and transport of water and brine produced by the coal seam gas and LNG industries.
"The aim of the bill is to deliver a modernised and more efficient regulatory framework for the state's resources sector," he said.
Hogan said the government had undertaken a huge task in updating the tenement system in Queensland to reflect changes in the mineral exploration and mining industry and to take advantage of technology, including online lodgement, readily available to all members of the industry.
“The minister and his department have been responsive to the AMEC policy platform for Queensland which proposed this review to ensure the state remains a preferred destination for mineral exploration and mining investment,” he said.
“Whilst this is an encouraging step, it is only one step in removing administrative and regulatory barriers that place projects at risk in Queensland.
“At this time when mineral exploration and mining is under threat from ad hoc policy decisions at various levels of government and international trends, it is pleasing to see Queensland taking positive action.”