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Leading Practice Mining Acts Review - Statutes Amendment Bill released

Hon Tom Koutsantonis MP, Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy, 7 September 2017.

A comprehensive review of South Australia’s mining laws has recommended 82 changes to the existing laws and policies following widespread consultation with the community and industry.

The 82 recommendations flowed from the more than 130 written submissions to the review and targeted engagement with more than 1,700 stakeholders such as landowners, mine operators and peak representative bodies.

The recommendations balance the requests from landowners, communities, business and environment advocates for substantial reforms to the Mining Act 1971, Opal Mining Act 1995, and the Mines and Works Inspection Act 1920.

These submissions and recommendations can be found online at: minerals.dpc.sa.gov.au/mining/leading_practice_mining_acts_review

The State Government has begun drafting legislation that reflects the 82 recommendations, and is scheduling a further round of regional community information sessions that will commence late September.

Outside of the recommendations, two issues  (native title and the financial assurance scheme) remain to be considered by various expert panels and consultative bodies before further amendments can be recommended.

Recommended changes to native title laws relating to mining will be identified as part of the Stronger Partners, Stronger Futures Aboriginal engagement program. More information on this program can be found at: minerals.dpc.sa.gov.au/land_access/native_title_and_aboriginal_land/stronger_partners,_stronger_futures

Background
The South Australian Government is undertaking the State’s most comprehensive review of the three major mining acts to ensure our legislation leads the nation. A 12-month public consultation process sought the views of landowners, industry, regional communities, explorers, representative bodies and mine operators on the strengths and shortcomings of the current legislation.

Quotes attributable to Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis
The 82 recommendations outline fair, balanced changes that will cut unnecessary red tape, better protect landowners and our environment, increase transparency, and attract investment in South Australia’s regions.

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure that South Australia has nation-leading modern mining laws.

The farming, mining, regional and Aboriginal communities have all been actively engaged in this extensive consultation process and their insights have been reflected in the breadth and quality of the recommendations now under consideration.

The recommended changes will provide farmers with increased rights and protections on their land, faster cheaper access to justice, and a new landowner advisory service to be facilitated through Primary Producers SA.

The peak farming, mining and legal representative groups are agreed that this will be ground-breaking legislation.

The Department has worked closely with the Environment Protection Authority throughout the Review and sought its advice on environmental regulatory practice, to ensure that those leading regulatory approaches are reflected in the recommendations.

Quote attributable to Grain Producers of South Australia Executive Chairman, Rob Kerin
Primary Producers SA endorse the process of the Review of the Mining Act - it has been an open process and the proposed changes are likely to reduce uncertainty for those landholders affected by mining and exploration.

Modernisation of the Act that leads to increased clarity of rights and processes is welcomed, and we will continue to work with the Government on this important Review.

Quote attributable to Rebecca Knol, Chief Executive Officer, South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy (SACOME)
SACOME is committed to working together with other sectors to ensure that mining and agriculture not only sustainably co-exist, but prosper together.

The proposed legislation is key to enabling economic development of the State’s mineral resources and we are committed to initiatives that encourage multiple and sequential land use.

Quote attributable to Leanne McClurg, SA President, Australian Mining and Petroleum Law Association (AMPLA)
The recommendations address some fundamental issues within the existing legislation and we look forward to continuing engagement with the Department throughout the drafting process to ensure those issues are adequately addressed.

Quote attributable to Todd Hacking, State Director NSW and SA, Cements Concretes and Aggregates Association of Australia (CCAA)
CCAA welcomes the release of the recommendations from the public consultation regarding amending the Mining Act.

In particular, we acknowledge the efforts of the Minister and DPC in working collaboratively with industry and other stakeholders to ensure the amendments are fair, balanced and will lead to the most innovative and modern mining / quarrying jurisdiction in Australia.

We look forward to continuing to work with the Minister and the Regulator on the proposed legislation.