A record $120 million has been allocated to streamlining WA approvals systems with $27.4 million committed to the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS).
The investment is included in the 2021-22 State Budget to be delivered next month and is aimed at addressing efficiency issues within the approvals pipeline.
A dedicated red-tape reduction team of more than 150 people will be provided across five Departments: Planning, Lands and Heritage; Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety; Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions; Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation; and Water and Environmental Regulation.
Premier Mark McGowan said it would be the single biggest investment in approvals for the State.
“We are in the fortunate position of having the strongest economy in the nation, but we cannot be complacent as there are billions of dollars’ worth of capital projects in the approvals pipeline,” Mr McGowan said.
“There is plenty of room to improve regulation to make it more transparent, predictable, seamless and efficient, and ensure the community has high confidence in it.
“These additional officers will enable key agencies to meet the demand for timely assessments and approvals, while ensuring the protection of our environment, heritage, and of worker and community safety.”
The $27.4 million investment in DMIRS will aid in the delivery of mining approval reform, which is necessary for the WA economy.
“Development in the mining, oil and gas, tourism and agricultural industries is vital to sustain economic growth and deliver WA jobs,” Mr McGowan said.
Chamber of Mines and Energy Chief Executive Paul Everingham reinforced the importance of an efficient approval processes in the mining sector.
“There are around $140 billion in projects in the WA mining and resources sector pipeline. An inefficient approvals process restricts our ability to take full advantage of these, impacting job creation as well as the local and national economy,” he said.
“Now, more than ever, it is critical to maximise the significant pipeline of opportunities to support the local and national economic as it recovers from the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 as well as create new jobs for WA locals.”
His comments come after a recent CME survey of its members which found WA mining contributed $51.98 billion to Australia’s economy and employed 65,170 full-time workers in 2019-20. The rest of Australia contributing $31.83 billion to the economy and employing 4,305 full time workers.