DMP welcomes findings of Auditor General report

Auditor General report finds DMP’s environmental reforms have improved the monitoring of compliance
Date: Thursday, 20 November 2014

A follow-up audit by the Auditor General has found improved processes for ensuring compliance with conditions on mining. 

A report released yesterday by the Auditor General has praised environmental reforms implemented by the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) over the last three years.

The report follows a performance audit undertaken by the Office of the Auditor General to assess whether issues identified in a 2011 audit and report on the effectiveness of the monitoring of compliance with conditions placed on mining activities had been addressed.

The report states that DMP has made significant improvements in addressing the issues identified in 2011, and that the full benefits of the reform will be seen over time.

Following the 2011 audit, the Auditor General recommended DMP and other agencies responsible for environmental regulation of mining activities made a number of changes to better ensure compliance with conditions on mining.

DMP Executive Director Environment Dr Phil Gorey said that since the 2011 report the department has implemented several reforms to improve its compliance risk based methodology and records management.

“Since the 2011 report was tabled, DMP has implemented significant changes to its operational assessment and compliance processes to improve oversight of mining activities,” Dr Gorey said.

“We have also implemented new information technology systems and practices to monitor compliance and the environmental performance of industry operators, and significantly expanded the public availability of this information.”

“The Reforming Environmental Regulation program has continued to be implemented and we’ve established the Mining Rehabilitation Fund to address financial issues arising from legacy and abandoned mines.”

The report also recommended protocols with the Department of State Development on shared responsibilities for monitoring State Agreements be finalised by February 2015 and that DMP finalise policies and procedures for assessing abandoned mines by June 2015.

DMP has already commenced work on the next phase of system and process reforms designed to address these recommendations.

Stakeholder consultation is underway and the final stage of significant legislative reforms to the Mining Act arising from the reforms is planned to be presented to government for consideration in early 2015.

“In 2015 we are scheduled to implement the outstanding tasks from the Reforming Environmental Regulation initiative and achieve our commitment of implementing the principles of best practice environmental regulation within the department.” Dr Gorey said

The full report is available on the Office of the Auditor General website.