The continued development of Queensland’s resource wealth benefits the world, while generating enduring income and jobs for the state
QRC works on behalf of members to address deficiencies in the approval process that may inhibit new projects or cause unreasonable delays.
QRC works across all of Queensland’s different approval pathways, which are complex, lengthy and overlap and duplicate similar Federal processes.
QRC advocates a robust yet streamlined approval process for all resource projects. QRC advocates for reasonable and responsible regulatory outcomes that assesses projects on their merits – including social, cultural, economic and environmental values.
QRC is also working with government to ensure projects are not held up in the courts. The post-approval process is now the most complex and uncertain aspect of the approval process for a new resource development in Queensland.
Regional Planning and Strategic Cropping
Traditionally, resources projects were not subject to planning laws, because the idea of creating zones for where future resources activities might occur did not gel with the reality of geology and exploration. So the approval process for a resources project includes a very careful consideration of the impact of the project through the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). This considered a whole host of impacts – on other land uses, on the environment, on traffic, on neighbouring properties, on water, noise – the list of concerns that are considered is very extensive.
The Bligh Labor Government implemented the Strategic Cropping Land Act with the aim of protecting Queensland’s most productive soils. The Newman LNP Government replaced this Act with the Regional Planning Interests Act, which extended the protection for cropping soils as well as creating new exclusion zones for towns and environmental areas. The Palaszczuk Government introduced a plan for South East Queensland in 2017 which recognised 14% of the region as urban, 2% as rural living area and the balance of 84% Regional Landscape and Rural Production Area (RLRPA). Each of these three zones largely preclude new resource projects as “inappropriate development”.
The interaction of the Regional Planning Interests Act with existing planning laws and the existing environmental impact statement process is highly complex. The advent of new restrictions under teh Palaszczuk Government around Vegetation Management and Pristine/Wild Rivers further complicates the process of regulatory assessment. Like all stakeholders, the resources sector is still grappling to understand how all these pieces of the regulatory puzzle fit together.