By Tatia Zubrinich – Forum Chair
In October 2013 the SEQ Division held a full day forum: 'Environmental Management – From Pit to Port', exploring the impacts and management of a diverse range of development activities related to mining, gas fields, pipelines, roads, railways and ports.
The presenters investigated broad, sometimes controversial aspects of the topic. The first session discussed the ‘state of play’ within our industry and how it is changing as a result of the current economic climate, as well as the shift in the type of work required for environmental projects, particularly now the major projects are in general being finalised and moving into operational stage. A change in emphasis of skill sets is resulting within the industry.
Several presentations discussed current environmental management and approvals requirements within Queensland. Also outlined were the key challenges and the innovations that have led to industry improvements, as well as how projects could be streamlined technically, financially and in terms of the time taken to achieve the approval requirements. It was evidenced in several presentations that studies (particularly EISs) are frequently presenting data and recommendations that are disparate in nature even in similar or same study areas. The lack of compulsory and central storage of project data, and the lack of data sharing between projects were the primary reasons for this. A robust debate ensued the formal presentations. A key point that dominated the debate was the need for information portals/technical studies repository in order to more effectively and accurately undertake consulting type studies. The key outcomes of the forum have been raised with the SEQ Division Committee for further consideration.