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Resources sector regulation: Productivity Commission study report

Mining Natural resource management Sector regulation Natural resources Australia

This study evaluates regulation of the resources sector, identifying issues and leading-practice approaches that address them. The primary focus is on how regulation is designed, administered and enforced, and whether there is scope to reduce unnecessary burdens created by regulatory processes and practices without diluting environmental and other regulated outcomes. Indeed, by undermining community support for the sector, weakening regulatory regimes would ultimately be counterproductive.

Key points:

  • There is considerable scope to improve regulatory processes and reduce unnecessary burdens to encourage resources investment without diluting requirements to mitigate impacts on the environment, heritage, worker safety, landowners and communities.
  • Resources activities demand strict, often complex regulation. But if regulation is not done well it can impose unnecessary costs, fail to meet objectives and diminish net community benefits.
  • Notwithstanding recent worthwhile initiatives, regulatory processes in the resources sector remain unduly complex, duplicative, lengthy and uncertain, and may be becoming more so.
  • Sustained improvement requires greater attention to the pre‑conditions for leading‑practice regulation — clear regulatory objectives, effective governance, incentive and accountability frameworks for regulators, and adequately resourced institutions. A focus on these foundations would also help industry investment recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
  • Leading regulatory practice supports an effective risk‑ and outcomes‑based approach by regulators who: are accountable and transparent; follow clear and predictable processes; build fit‑for‑purpose technological and staff capabilities; collect, use and disseminate data effectively; and work to inform the community about their activities.


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