- Category: Sustainability
In recent years SACOME has had progressively more to do with the Natural Resource Management (NRM) Council, in line with the objectives of the NRM Act, particularly in support of sustainable resource development.
SACOME believes that the mineral and energy resources industry should have a voice on the NRM and Native Vegetation Councils, as a legitimate land and water user and key stakeholder in the strategic management of natural resources in South Australia. Accordingly, we have made a number of submissions to amend the Natural Resources Management Act 2004 and the Native Vegetation (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2008 advocating for SACOME's recognition as a peak body in the Natural Resource Management Act 2004 which would give the industry equal standing with other state peak bodies.
South Australian nature charity, the Nature Foundation, is one of several organisations collaborating with SA's resources industry to achieve positive outcomes for nature conservation in South Australia. Mining and petroleum companies are full of nature lovers, with many people initially attracted to the industry through a passion for rocks, nature and earth science. Resources companies are also required to mitigate impacts on the environment when clearing sections of native vegetation. Read more.
Arid lands water levies increases
SACOME has made a submission to the SA Arid Lands Natural Resources Management board on their draft Business Plan 2016/17 – 2018/19. The submission responds to the proposed unjustified increase in water levies and the introduction of a levy on co-produced water. We strongly oppose both matters and are lobbying the Treasurer to have the 20% increase and the introduction of the levy on co-produced water stopped. Read the submission. Several years ago SACOME lobbied against similar increases, which would place unreasonable demands on resource operations and impact on investment into the sector, together with reducing the ability of resources companies to contribute to the State economy. SACOME was successful in that instance and will maintain our opposition to the increases, for the benefit of our members and ultimately all South Australians.
Native Vegetation Policy Changes
Over the 2014-15 period there were a number of proposed changes to Native Vegetation legislation and regulations by the South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR). Among these changes was a review of payments to provide a Significant Environmental Benefit (SEB) under the Native Vegetation Act 1991. SACOME provided a submission, ensuring the need for flexibility in policy arrangements was highlighted, so as to enable positive environmental outcomes whilst facilitating future resources sector growth outlined in the South Australian Government’s economic and strategic priorities. SACOME also emphasised need for openness and transparency in the allocations of funds from the Native Vegetation Fund as public reporting on the KPI’s of projects and their delivery is essential for industry confidence in the management of funds.
DEWNR has also commenced an extensive review of the Native Vegetation Regulations 2003, including review of the interpretation of the intent of the current regulations and a subsequent review of the proposed permitted clearing regulation exemptions. SACOME has developed comprehensive submissions to DEWNR in conjunction with feedback from the Sustainable Development Committee, outlining the industry preferred approach to the regulations.
SACOME's work is continuing on native vegetation regulations, draft policies and guidelines on SEB’s and third party offsets. In early 2016 SACOME provided a submission to the Native Vegetation Council on the Significant Environmental Benefit document. It provides a comprehensive industry evaluation and calls for greater flexibility in delivering positive environmental outcomes. Read the submission.
Air Quality Project
In late 2013, SACOME’s Sustainable Development Committee undertook a review into the application of air quality standards and monitoring frameworks for particulates applied to operating mines within South Australia. All relevant operational mines participated in the review, which studied the applicability and efficiency of the standards and monitoring systems employed at each site, with specific focus on particulates less than 10 microns in size (PM10).
The report was completed and published in October 2014, and the recommendations subsequently developed into an official SACOME policy in early 2015. In early 2016 we provided a submission to the EPA on the Environmental Protection (Air Quality) Policy 2016. Our major concerns include poor industry consultation, the changes to maximum pollutant levels impacting significantly on mining operations without measurable environmental gains, and concerns with the appropriate measurement and interpretation of particulant matter. Read our submission.