Daniel Andrews’ regulations stall road upgrades in Western Victoria

Shadow Minister for Resources, Ryan Smith has today visited the Mooleric Road Quarry in Ombersley with Member for Polwarth, Richard Riordan, where they heard first-hand how Daniel Andrews’ policies are burying Victoria’s extractive industries beneath endless and unnecessary regulation.

This unnecessary and costly regulation is not only increasing the costs of quarry materials used in road construction, but it is also forcing inferior materials to be used, as high quality materials are locked up in quarries mired in government red tape.

The bureaucratic regulatory process, put in place by the government, provides damning evidence of over-regulation and mismanagement in our construction materials sector. 

This process demonstrates that compliance costs for businesses under the new regulations will increase by up to 30 per cent. These additional costs come at a time when governments need to be supporting industry in a post-COVID-19 environment.

Southwest Victoria is crippled by some of the worst roads in Victoria. The only way local shires can get the best value for ratepayers is to have a regular supply of suitable materials. In recent years we have seen hundreds of thousands of tonnes of material carted into our region from miles away when we live on the most material-rich resource in the world.

It is estimated that the Princes Hwy West duplication cost more than $50 million more in cartage than what was needed because suitable materials were not available locally. That $50 million could have resurfaced many roads across Western Victoria for the benefit of all. 

Daniel Andrews’ government intends to add further compliance burdens on an industry already crippled by over-regulation. For example the Australian Material Processors Association estimates a mere 15 per cent of applications will be approved by the State Government.  

The Government’s own Extractive Resources Strategy concedes that by 2050, 34 per cent of extractive materials used in construction will have to come from quarries “not yet built or planned.” In what will ultimately be a cost to the Victorian taxpayer, up to a third of construction materials critical to Victorian infrastructure could be imported from overseas. 

These problems are directly caused by Labor’s flawed regulatory regime. This outcome is made even more complicated by the government’s convoluted and costly processes.

This is not a new problem. On June 11 last year Brian Hauser of Cement, Concrete and Aggregates Australia stated clearly: 

“To deliver the 60 million-plus tonnes per annum of high-quality quarry products and the additional cement and concrete needed, there needs to be faster approvals for quarry and sand reserves.”

Civil Contractors Federation of Victoria CEO, John Kilgour, said:

“There will soon be a significant shortage [in material] and we will have to get it from somewhere, be that from interstate or overseas.”

Andrews’ own Treasurer, Tim Pallas, admitted the lack of raw materials being supplied in Victoria, due to bureaucracy, was weighing on the Government’s infrastructure plans.  

Despite these dire warnings, Labor has absurdly made getting regulatory approvals for these projects more complicated and costly. Labor’s approach is illogical and will cost Victorian jobs. 

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