The Productivity Commission (Commission) has announced a 12 month inquiry into the non financial barriers to mineral and energy resource exploration. The inquiry was established on the recommendation of the Policy Transition Group, which noted that ‘a range of approvals are required before exploration can begin, including land access, native title, indigenous and non-indigenous heritage, environmental, conservation estate and planning and infrastructure approvals.’
The review will investigate areas of duplication across different levels of government and examine exploration approvals and processes to assess their effectiveness and efficiency. The Commission will determine if there is evidence of unnecessary regulatory burden, examine complexity and time frames of government approvals and examine costs of non-financial barriers (including regulatory and related costs).
The review excludes taxation and fiscal policy across all levels of government, the government’s response to the review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth), and indigenous land rights regimes.
Initial submissions are due by the end of March 2013, with a final report to government by the end of September 2013.