24/09/2008 - 22:00

Moore fixes aim on approvals process

24/09/2008 - 22:00

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

NEW Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore is under no illusions about where his focus will have to be as he returns to the position he held in the previous Liberal government - the approvals process for mining and exploration.

NEW Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore is under no illusions about where his focus will have to be as he returns to the position he held in the previous Liberal government - the approvals process for mining and exploration.

But Mr Moore also knows it will take cooperation from other ministers and departments outside his control to get approvals back under control.

The resources sector has been concerned about the backlog of approvals, with increasingly onerous obstacles to development being encountered and an overworked public service unable to keep pace with the demands of industry.

"There is no doubt in my mind that the WA mining scene, which was once the envy of the world, is now shabby around the edges," Mr Moore said.

"The number one responsibility will be to do something about the approvals process.

"There are significant stories about the many delays they encounter, loosely referred to as red tape and green tape.

"Many other agencies are involved in the decision-making process. We can't change that."

Mr Moore said a whole-of-government approach was required to ensure that mining and exploration applications travelled efficiently through all areas, including environmental and Aboriginal heritage, with one agency taking the lead.

"In some of the agencies, people may have a view that protecting the environment is more important than mining; it is not to say that protecting the environment is not important, but you have to get a balance," he said.

"The government needs to collectively take the view that agencies other than mines recognise the importance of making the approvals process work more quickly."

Mr Moore points to competition from other jurisdictions, including rival states such as South Australia, which have attracted resources development by streamlining their own approvals processes.

This was especially in the exploration area where the mines of the future are found.

"Our predecessors were of the view that we were getting enough exploration and didn't need additional investment," Mr Moore told WA Business News.

"I will be examining that closely to see if we need similar processes to what is needed in South Australia."

Mr Moore said the approvals area appeared to be undermanned at what is now DoIR and the expertise needed had been watered down in an agency with such a wide focus.

The new mines and petroleum minister downplayed concerns that he would not be able to work with Premier Colin Barnett, a factional rival, pointing out that they had worked closely in the previous Liberal government with ministries that crossed over regularly.

Mr Moore said an efficiently working administrative wing was important to Mr Barnett's role as state development minister as well as premier because it would send out the right message.

"You can do business in WA without stuffing around," he said.

"That will enhance what Colin will be doing."

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options