EPA defends time taken to assess Douglas mine works approval application
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has defended the amount of time it took assessing a works approval application for a mineral sands operation in western Victoria’s Wimmera.
Late last week, the EPA announced Iluka Resources did not require a works approval or licence to continue dumping radioactive waste at its Douglas mine.
The EPA started assessing the project in June and was determined to ensure the process was transparent.
The EPA’s Anthony Boxshall said his organisation was not the regulator where radioactive materials were handled, instead this sat with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
“Certainly for us it’s the first time we’ve had this kind of situation where we had to go through the process to issue a works approval and then under that provision in the Act there’s a nuance in that which would have allowed us to and then we were actually not able to under our Act,” he said.
Mr Boxshall said while his organisation did not have a legislative role in this instance, it was still willing to be involved.
“One of our recommendations is that the EPA, DHHS and Earth Resources [work together on] regulation, we make ourselves available collectively as a panel of expertise for the council in consideration of planning permission,” he said.
“Councils are very experienced at planning but they’re probably not that expert at groundwater and things like that.”