Environmental reform benefitting industry

Programme of Work assessment times have decreased since the start of the environmental reform program
Date: Thursday, 09 July 2015

Online lodgement cutting assessment times 

Programme of Work (PoW) average assessment times have decreased and less applications are being rejected and withdrawn since the Reforming Environmental Regulation (RER) program commenced in 2013.

DMP Executive Director Environment Dr Phil Gorey said a number of factors have contributed to these reductions.

“The move to online lodgement has helped reduce the work involved in assessing applications, and we believe that better guidance material and improved support from the department has also had a positive impact,” Dr Gorey said

“Since introducing compulsory online lodgement for Programmes of Work – Exploration (PoW-E), applicants are only able to submit complete applications to the department.

“This minimises the need for the department to go back to proponents to seek additional information or reject applications due to them being incomplete.”

The average number of working days from submission to approval for PoW-E applications has decreased from 45 days in 2013 to 28 days so far in 2015.

The average number of days an application has to be placed on hold awaiting further information from the proponent has also fallen from 21 to nine business days.

“In the first quarter of 2015 the department finalised 98 per cent of Programme of Work applications within the 30 business day target,” Dr Gorey said.

“These results mean proponents can be confident project timelines won’t be adversely affected by applications held up in the assessment process.

“Receiving complete applications early in the stage of the process also delivers better environmental outcomes by allowing the potential environmental impacts to be thoroughly assessed at one time.

“We hope the development of “smart forms” for Mining proposal and Mine Closure Plan applications that we hope to introduce in 2016 will further reduce assessment and approval times.”