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Mineral and energy resource exploration

Public inquiry

This inquiry has concluded. The final report was sent to Government on 27 September 2013 and was released on 5 March 2014.

The Australian Government asked the Commission to undertake a 12-month inquiry into the non-financial barriers to mineral and energy resource exploration.

Specifically the Commission should:

  • determine if there is evidence of unnecessary regulatory burden and if there is, make recommendations on how to reduce or eliminate these burdens
  • examine the complexity and time frames of government approvals processes for exploration, and potential for delay due to appeals both within and across jurisdictions
  • examine areas of duplication between and within Local, State, Territory and Commonwealth regulation that can be triggered throughout an exploration project
  • examine costs of non-financial barriers (including regulatory and related costs)
  • consider options to improve the regulatory environment for exploration activities, having regard to regulatory objectives
  • assess the impact of non-financial barriers on international competitiveness and economic performance of Australia's exploration sector.

The terms of reference identify certain exclusions in relation to:

  • local, state, territory and Commonwealth taxation and fiscal policy
  • the Government's response to the Report of the Independent Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
  • processes under the Commonwealth's Native Title Act 1993, the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 or state Indigenous land rights regimes

The Commission consulted with all relevant state, territory and Commonwealth government agencies and other key stakeholders.