Mining for clarity: Council takes initiative on extractive projects
Responding to growing interest in and development of extractive industry projects across the shire, East Gippsland Shire Council has set out its expectations about future resource-extraction projects.
The Position Paper on Extractive Industries aims to provide clarity about what is important to Council, East Gippsland’s communities and project proponents; and provide a foundation for advocacy. It calls on miners to ensure that resource-extraction projects are well managed and benefit local communities.
In the position paper, Council also commits to supporting active community involvement in the decision-making process surrounding extractive industry projects.
Mayor Cr Mark Reeves welcomed the adoption of the paper, stating: "This paper puts Council on the front foot regarding expectations that our communities are engaged, that social, environmental and health impacts are well managed, and that there is real benefit to local communities from any mining proposal.
"It puts Council and communities in a stronger position when we state early on what we expect of extractive industry proposals. Our vision is to establish a framework where such projects contribute positively to the shire, offer employment opportunities, safeguard our environment, and respect the rights of our Traditional Custodians," Cr Reeves said.
“Recognising that extractive industries do not pay rates, we’ll be calling for royalties earned in our shire to be spent in our shire. We recognise the significant impact that extractive industries can have on our region, and we want to strike a balance that allows our communities to thrive and ensures responsible land use,” Cr Reeves said.
The Position Paper on Extractive Industries echoes Council’s Advocacy Strategy call for an overhaul of the environment effects statement (EES) process and associated approval processes for extractive industries.
“Responding to an EES is complex and costly, and has financial, social and human resources implications, so we’re advocating for an independent expert group be established, funded by the proponent or Victorian Government, to ensure technical integrity of an EES before it is allowed to be publicly exhibited. We are also calling for financial support to allow Council and community members to participate in the EES process,” Cr Reeves said.