Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council director John Lamb hosted a visit to three Tasmanian sites in late May for Major Projects Approval Agency Tasmanian branch delegates.
It is a Commonwealth Government agency established in July 2014 to guide proponents of large or economically significant projects through the various layers of approvals that may be necessary.
“They are regarded as a key part of the Government’s ‘war on red tape,'" John Lamb said.
“Nominally, the agency assists projects valued above $50 million, however in the Tasmanian context their work extends to include much smaller projects on the basis of economic significance.
“Many minerals projects are likely to fit this description and even projects such as tailings dams are significant as they have the capacity to interrupt the normal operation of a site if they are delayed in the approval pipeline.”
The Tasmanian branch is co-located with the Office of the Coordinator-General of State Growth (state) in Launceston and TMEC’s first communication with them identified a very low level of awareness regarding the minerals industry in general, what we do, how we contribute and where we may need assistance.
“Members should not be surprised by this – we find commonly that whilst politicians regularly visit member sites, the bureaucrats working in the various departments and agencies often do not,” John Lamb said.
“Their education on the minerals industry is thus often limited to what they may read in the press which, as we know, is not always accurate nor balanced.
“TMEC has an ongoing agenda to engage with and educate our public servants whenever the opportunity arises and the Board believes that this is valuable despite the effort involved.”
On this occasion, two representatives from Canberra and two from Launceston visited Savage River, Rosebery and Bell Bay sites. At each site they were addressed by the General Manager and discussed aspects of each operation and its experiences with the approval process.
“The party toured each site and have reported back to us that they found it an extremely valuable and educational experience,” John Lamb said.
Members seeking advice or assistance with project approvals can contact the Tasmanian office on (03) 6333 0455 or check the website: www.tas.mpaa.gov.au