The Minerals Council of Australia says the State of the Environment report released last week provides a crucial insight into Australia’s environment to help guide future investment and reform to national environmental law.
The government’s intention is to progress reforms to national environmental law aimed at improving outcomes, providing certainty for business and enhancing community trust in environmental protection.
MCA executive officer Tania Constable said Australia’s minerals sector was committed to the protection and restoration of its unique environment and national heritage values.
“A focus on clear, effective and outcomes based regulation outlined by the Government will provide certainty for businesses, the community and decision makers achieving the high national environmental and heritage standards Australians expect,” she said.
“Timely approvals, national coordination and clearer guidelines will help Australia’s minerals industry create more jobs, boost investment and contribute to improved national biodiversity and heritage outcomes.
“The Australian industry is a global leader in responsible production, providing the essential elements necessary for modern life, supporting the nation’s economy and the energy transition.
“While the minerals industry is a relatively small land user – occupying less than 0.2 per cent of the Australian land mass – it takes seriously its commitment to land and water stewardship.
“As a temporary land use, the industry is committed to managing, mitigating and offsetting potential significant impacts and contributing to broader biodiversity outcomes. Australian companies plan for and rehabilitate land across the mine life – from exploration to closure.
“In addition to strict regulatory requirements, the industry undertakes a range of voluntary conservation activities, establishing significant conservation areas and partnering with local communities and First Nations people to support enduring environmental outcomes.”
Constable said the programs supported by the sector extend well beyond the mine to surrounding regions and in some cases across the country.
“The minerals industry is at the forefront of innovation – investing heavily in environmental data and conservation science, working in partnership with leading institutions. Australian leading practice is exported globally. These programs will form part of the industry’s contribution to the government’s environmental policy agenda,” she said.
The Towards Sustainable Mining sustainability accountability system – under adoption by the MCA and recognised in the State of the Environment report – would support continual improvement and provide unprecedented transparency around industry’s environmental and social performance governance.