Streamlining of exploration and development approval processes

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4 November 2011 | By Bruce Adkins (Partner)

On 7 October 2011, the Queensland Government’s Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) held an information session regarding their progress on the restructuring of exploration and development approval processes. This restructure is aimed at streamlining current approval processes in order to make them more efficient and simplified.

How will the restructure occur?

Following testing in late October, a staged roll out of a new online client portal – ‘Mines Online’ – will begin in November. The roll out will occur in groups of 50 holders. Holders are determined via contact information currently held on DEEDI’s database, and a letter or email will be sent to the person named as the principal contact. As it is this principal contact who receives the activation key for the web address needed to set up the holder’s account, it is vitally important that these details are up to date.

What will the restructure entail?

Once an account has been activated by the principal contact, holders will be able to view every transaction related to their account on one comprehensive, but easy to use screen. Tabs will take holders, for example, to their current permit applications, or granted permits. With each permit, all transactions relating to it will be listed and accessible via active hyperlinks. Examples of such listed information may include Environmental Assessments (EA), statuses of applications, maps of tenements, grant dates, and dates when renewal is required.

In order to effect transactions on this new online client portal, the authorised holder (that is, the principal holder who activates the account) must nominate an authorised holder representative (AHR). Only the AHR has the ability to transact on the account; other holders associated with the account will merely be allocated read-only access. On initial roll out, it is envisaged that each account will only be allowed one such read-only access, however additional AHRs and read-only access holders will eventually be implemented. It should be noted that an agent may also be nominated as an AHR.

What are some advantages of the new online client portal?

This new online client portal seeks to provide a common permit process and lifecycle for all tenement types. This will be achieved through 6 stages, providing the following benefits:

Pre-lodgement

  • By putting in the relevant tenement lot, fields on the application form will be pre-populated;
  • Issues such as Native Title or Wild Rivers will be highlighted if applicable; and
  • EA applications will be made at the same time as the permit application.

Lodgement

  • All fees associated with the application are compiled and paid at once.

Assessment

  • Common information will be shared with the appropriate departments;
  • Holders will be able to track their applications online; and
  • Notifications will be sent if additional information, for example, is required.

Decision

  • An automatic notification will be sent out once a decision is reached.

Post grant

  • Reminder notifications will be sent out to promote pro-active compliance – for example, renewal dates approaching; and
  • Transfers will be dealt with here

Termination

  • Required paperwork will be combined.

What else will be different?

By completion, this new online client portal will collapse QDEX, as well as the current IRTM. New spatial services will be launched updating the current IRTM, with the goal of making it more user-friendly and ‘Google-map-like’ to include roads and towns.

When will the restructure take effect?

Exploration permits for coal and minerals are on the top of the agenda to be integrated into this streamlined approach, with expected completion by mid 2012.  After that, other tenements under the Mineral Resources Act 1989 (Qld) will be integrated, followed by petroleum and gas tenements and greenhouse gas storage tenements.  Complete functionality of the new online client portal is anticipated for 2013.


The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication.


Contacts

Bruce Adkins

Partner. Brisbane
+ 61 7 3228 9431

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