Bush Users – Prospectors and Miners Association of Victoria

Ms BATH (Eastern Victoria) (17:51:48): My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Resources, the Honourable Jaclyn Symes, in this place. It relates to mining and mineral exploration in Victoria. The action I seek is for the minister to meet with Mr Bill Schulz from the Prospectors and Miners Association of Victoria. Bill also happens to be a founding member of the Bush Users Groups United—BUGU, as we know it. Mr Schulz would like to be accompanied by prospectors and miners Mr Neville Perry and Mr Mick Clark to meet and discuss a range of issues relating to prospecting and mining in Victoria. The gentlemen have a number of concerns in relation to the restrictions on public land use and the locking out of our miners from public spaces that were once open and accessible—they are now becoming more and more restricted. In addition, goldmining licence holders Mr Perry and Mr Clark, who own freehold land near Dunolly, wish to share their experiences and frustrations in dealing with the earth and mineral resources branches of the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, which oversees the administration of the mineral licensing regime. They wish to highlight issues with obtaining licences, including prospecting and retention licences, and extending mining licences and also to suggest efficiencies to expedite and streamline the various processes. They also acknowledge the importance of cultural heritage management plans, but they are frustrated with the fact that these management plans, which should take around three months, can take up to 18 months due to delay and delay and delay. Understanding the importance of site rehabilitation and remediation, they wish to discuss licence bonds and share their insights and local examples of how mined land is almost always remediated to a higher environmental value than it was prior to prospecting and mining. Indeed they speak about the various pock holes and deep holes in the land that, once remediated, come back to great, good-quality farming land where ploughing can occur and crops can be grown. In short, they want to raise many of their frustrations and also share their ideas for improved governance to create a way that prospectors and miners can use the land and continue to use the land as they have in an environmentally safe and sustainable way. I ask that the minister meet with them. They are happy to come to Parliament. They are happy to show the minister around Dunolly and any of the locations where great prospecting and mining occurs. I ask that she view this request favourably and meet in good faith with these gentlemen to discuss and learn how this government can improve the value of prospectors and miners in Victoria.