The Illawarra Business Chamber has welcomed the NSW Government’s announcement that it will review the operation of the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) – the body responsible for considering contentious development applications and providing independent advice to government.
The Chamber has been critical of this process; particularly its convoluted nature and the amount of time taken to consider important resources project applications. However it has warned that the review process should not delay – or worse, put on hold – the consideration of existing development applications for major projects where significant investment is riding on the outcome; including in the resources sector.
Illawarra Business Chamber Executive Director, Adam Zarth, said that timely consideration of mining developments was particularly important for the Illawarra, and that the government now has an opportunity to design a process that better serves the needs of regional communities and their economies.
“The government is right to review the performance of the Independent Planning Commission, but this cannot delay existing approvals for projects that entail billions of dollars of investment and the potential to create thousands of jobs,” said Mr Zarth.
“Right now across the Illawarra there are pending mining approvals for projects at Berrima (Hume Coal), Dendrobium (South32) and Russell Vale (Wollongong Coal). We cannot afford to have these further delayed, or delayed to the extent that this investment is withdrawn – the impact on our economy would be devastating.”
“The mining of metallurgical coal is an important element of the Illawarra’s economy; the continued presence of BlueScope at Port Kembla and thousands of jobs in supporting industries are reliant on a timely triple bottom line approach to planning approvals being applied by government.”
“While the independence and expertise of the IPC is laudable, it sits within a process involving a major government department and numerous other stakeholders that often is obscure, opaque and onerous.”
“Communities, including those opposed to these developments, also deserve greater certainty and a more timely resolution to these applications, and I would suggest that the application of strict timeframes for approvals is but one option for consideration,” said Mr Zarth.
Media Contact: Adam Zarth (0404 146 829)