Queensland Government releases final version of the Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan

In December 2021, we released a newsletter about the draft Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan (Draft). The Draft identified six key focus areas where government and industry need to take collaborative action to achieve net-zero by 2050. For a high level summary of these six focus areas, please access our previous publication here.

In June 2022, Queensland’s Department of Resources (Department) released the final Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan (QRIDP). A full copy of the QRIDP can be accessed here.

Keeping up with the goals and purposes of the Draft, the QRIDP aims to lay the transitional path for Queensland’s resources industry over the next 30 years. Specifically, the QRIDP seeks to map out how the state will slowly decarbonise and move towards a more responsible and sustainable industry that still creates jobs, growth and prosperity.

The QRIDP requires the industry to adapt to new resource discoveries and advancements in technology. It also addresses global trends such as Environment Social Governance (ESG), growing scarcity and complexity of access to quality resources, the Indo-Pacific’s increasing consumer base, and geopolitical instability.

Development from draft to final plan

The Department undertook extensive consultations with stakeholders around Queensland to ensure that the QRIDP reflected the needs of the state’s resources industry. Various representatives of the Department travelled across Queensland to directly speak with resource communities that will be affected by the QRIDP. They held workshops online and in-person in Mount Isa, Chinchilla, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Brisbane, and Moranbah.

After releasing the Draft in November 2021, the Department opened public consultation in relation to the Draft. Between the Draft’s public release and February 2022, the Department held further online and in-person workshops in Townsville, Cloncurry, Brisbane, Toowoomba, Gladstone, Bundaberg, and Emerald. It also relied on online discussion, voting polls, surveys, uploaded submissions and social media interactions.

During consultation time, the Department interacted with the resources industry, First Nations people, community members, and landholders to explore topics such as the resources supply chain, coexistence, automation, and skills needed for the future. The Department used the insight and feedback gained to develop the content and actions of the QRIDP. However, it only incorporated minor amendments on the QRIDP’s actions.

Accountability, monitoring, and reporting

The actions in the QRIDP will be reviewed regularly depending on emerging industry and community needs. The QRIDP will be a living document while the actions are monitored, and progress will be reported on a public website. New actions may be added as issues arise. The status of each action can be viewed here.

To monitor, guide, and advise on the implementation of the QRIDP, the Department will establish a Ministerial Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan Advisory Group (Advisory Group).

The Advisory Group will meet at least twice annually at rotating locations across Queensland. It will consist of core government memberships, industry peak bodies, representatives invited by the Minister of Resources, and other community and stakeholder groups invited from time-to-time when a meeting’s agenda is relevant to them. The peak organisations involved include the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies, the Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, Queensland Exploration Council, and Queensland Resources Council.

A terms of reference will govern the Advisory Group and the Minister for Resources will be the chair. Communications within the Advisory Group will ensure the implementation progress of the QRIDP is shared, while reforms and policy are developed collaboratively. It will be the structured way for the industry to share with the Department how the QRIDP is delivering on expectations.

Industry impacts

If effectively implemented, the QRIDP will likely impact Queensland’s resources industry by:

  • Expecting the industry to contribute to global decarbonisation, although the QRIDP addresses the new pockets of demand for coal in the Indo-Pacific region. Resource companies may need to provide new economy minerals and produce green technologies that will help meet climate change targets.
  • Ensuring Queensland is kept as a supplier for premium commodities critical for low-emissions technologies. The QRIDP aims to keep Queensland competitive at a global scale.
  • Regulating the implementation of more efficient exploration technologies driven by world-class data and digital technologies (for instance, real-time digital earth visualisation).
  • Requiring more transparency and the implementation of policies that are compliant with ESG expectations. There will be a strong focus on sustainable community legacy.
  • Providing more opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to become decision-making and equity partners. Resource companies will have to ensure the continuous recognition, protection, and conservation of cultural heritage through genuine partnerships with First Nations people.
  • Encouraging transformation of Queensland’s resource companies from delivering mainly extraction activities to handling materials in the circular economy. Priorities will include disassembly technologies and recycling.
  • Fostering the coexistence and sustainability of communities through more effective mine rehabilitations and post mining operations.
  • Demanding more preparation, upskilling, and diversification of the workforce to adapt to the automation and digital transformation, ensuring that regional communities are thriving and jobs are still local. Resource companies will have to upkeep the safety and health of their working environments to benefit a resilient future workforce.
  • Improving Queensland’s regulatory efficiency to enact risk-based, effective, and transparent regulation that ensures the State’s resources are explored and developed in the public interest.

If you would like any further information or assistance with your review of the QRIDP, please do not hesitate to contact our Energy & Resources Team.

With special thanks for the contribution of Matt Alvites – Winter Clerk.

This article may provide CPD/CLE/CIP points through your relevant industry organisation.

The material contained in this publication is in the nature of general comment only, and neither purports nor is intended to be advice on any particular matter. No reader should act on the basis of any matter contained in this publication without considering, and if necessary, taking appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.

Hannah Riggs

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