Heritage Assistance Program launched
The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, the Hon Tony Buti MLA, launched the Heritage Assistance Program at AMEC’s Land Access Forum on 10 November. This is the outcome of an AMEC proposal put to the WA Premier, the Hon Roger Cook MLA, and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, the Hon Tony Buti MLA, during the period the WA Government was considering scrapping new Heritage legislation and reverting to the old Act. The program will run for a period of five years and is targeted at those companies in the mining and mineral exploration industry who are actively undertaking works and incurring Aboriginal Heritage Survey (AHS) costs.
Explorers: The holder of an exploration licence can, for the first three years of the Program, apply for a rebate of AHS costs incurred, up to a maximum of 50 per cent of the annual rent payable on the affected tenement. For the last two years of the Program, the holder of an exploration licence can apply for a rebate of AHS costs incurred, up to a maximum of 25 per cent of the annual rent payable on the affected tenement.
Prospectors: The holder of a prospecting licence will be able to apply for a rebate of AHS costs incurred, up to a maximum of the total of the annual rent payable on the affected tenement for the entire program.
Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 commenced
On 15 November, the amended Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 came into effect. On the same day the repeal of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021 and all associated Regulations occurred. The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage website was updated and a retooled ACHknowledge platform has gone live. AMEC attended multiple briefings on the rebuild of the ACHKnowledge platform and has met weekly with the WA Government’s Implementation Working Group, which has now concluded. AMEC has continued advocacy to cut the duplication between the EPA and the Aboriginal Heritage Act. The EPA published Social Surroundings guidance in the following week.
Vogel Part IV review
Dr Paul Vogel AO, former Chair of the WA EPA, current Chair of the NT EPA, was engaged by the State Government to undertake a review of Part IV of the EP Act and its implementation. AMEC were the first industry association to brief Dr Vogel on our industry’s views of improvements to the application of Part IV.
Released on 12 December, the 39 recommendations handed down were accepted by the Government, to streamline the application process to approve projects. More information available here – Recommendations
AMEC has met with the Hon Tony Buti, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) to secure a commitment to consult with AMEC and industry on the form of future State Government Native Title settlement’s concessions regarding mining and mineral exploration. The Tjiwarl Settlement introduced conditions and costs on Exploration Licences that are substantially higher than the rest of the market. AMEC will meet with the Department of Energy, Mining, Industry Regulation and Safety, and the Department of Premier and Cabinet in the coming weeks to ensure land access costs are reasonable.
Mining Act consultation
Consultation has finally begun on the Standard Conditions for access, and a position paper in response to the Supreme Court decision of Blue Ribbon Mines Pty Ltd v Roy Hill Infrastructure Pty Ltd  WASC 362. AMEC has advocated for the entire year that the Government must provide a clear position and standardised conditions. DEMIRS used AMEC’s Land Access Forum to reveal the content of the Blue Ribbon consult, and then met with the AMEC Mining Legislation Committee in person to discuss the reforms in the week it was published. AMEC continues to advocate to the Government to see a resolution to the outstanding issues with Section 58 Statements following the True Fella Pty Ltd v Pantoro South Pty Ltd Warden Court decision.
New Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Hon David Michael MLA
After 7 years, the Hon Bill Johnston MLA, resigned as a Minister on the final day of Parliament for the year.
As part of a small Cabinet reshuffle, the Hon David Michael MLA, was appointed by the Premier to take on the Mines and Petroleum Portfolio.
David has previously served as Cabinet Secretary, Minister for Local Government and Ports; and Minister assisting the Minister for Transport, and is the Member for Balcatta.
AMEC has already been in touch with the new Minister and looks forward to engaging with him in his new role. AMEC has also extended out thanks to outgoing Minister, Bill Johnston, for his work and support of our industry during his time in Government.
To learn more please contact Neil van Drunen on 0407 057 443.