30/10/2008 - 14:37

Libs unveil DoIR, DoCEP restructure

30/10/2008 - 14:37

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The state government has announced that two major departments will be restructured and split into three, as part of its plan for improving project approvals and delivering more clarity for business.

Libs unveil DoIR, DoCEP restructure

The state government has announced that two major departments will be restructured and split into three, as part of its plan for improving project approvals and delivering more clarity for business.

Premier Colin Barnett said that changes to the Department of Industry and Resources and the Department of Consumer and Employment Protection are expected to be in place early next year.

Both departments will be reconstituted as the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP), Department of State Development (DSD) and the Department of Commerce (DoC)

All existing staff of DoIR and DoCEP will be allocated to the new departments.

Mr Barnett will be responsible for DSD, Treasurer Troy Buswell will oversee the DoC and Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore will look after DMP.

The DSD will lead, attract and facilitate major developments like the Ord to keep WA at the forefront of the nation's economy. It will also be responsible for the State Agreement Acts and strategic policy co-ordination.

"The State Government's restructure of DOIR and DOCEP means there will be clearer lines of responsibility for Ministers and a more logical structure which will provide clarity and confidence for mining companies and businesses," Mr Barnett said.

"Mining companies will now be served by the Department of Mines and Petroleum; businesses will be served by the Department of Commerce; and the facilitation of major new developments will be the responsibility of the Department of State Development.

"While the changes will result in the cost of an additional Director General, the small impost will be significantly offset by the extra revenue to the State generated by a more efficient approvals process."

Mr Barnett has also scrapped plans for a super ministry, as proposed by a report delivered under the previous government, saying the new structure is the best way forward for WA.

"The mining and petroleum industry is so large and is of such significance that it is in WA's best interests to have a dedicated department arrangement re-established," he said.

The acting chief executive for the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies, Sonia Webster, said the move will go a long way to reverse the growing perception that WA is a risky place to explore and mine.

"WA's reputation as an internationally leading mining economy has been sliding backward for some time," Ms Webster said.

"The growing negative perception and subsequent fall in mineral exploration has been largely attributed to the State's multi-agency, cumbersome approvals process.

"Explorers and junior miners have been required to deal with up to 5 different agencies, some with conflicting objectives, whenever they sought approval to explorer or develop a mineral reserve.

"Some of our members have told us that the WA approvals process had become so dysfunctional, they were actively seeking to invest in projects in other states and countries.

"The full benefits of the split won't be felt immediately, but every Western Australian will reap the rewards in years to come."

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