The Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) regulates a wide range of industry sectors. This includes the licensing of building and energy, dangerous goods, consumer protection and mining and petroleum exploration and development activities.
DMIRS is working to increase the transparency of its licensing service and align agency performance measures with other State government licensing agencies.
The DMIRS performance target is to finalise at least 80 per cent of licence applications within the target timeline. For example, the target for finalising a mineral tenure licence application is 65 business days (BD). Figure 1 provides an example of DMIRS performance reporting for mineral prospecting licence applications. Ninety eight per cent of prospecting applications were finalised during the September quarter (Q3). The number of licence applications received is updated at the end of each calendar year.
Targets have been identified for all key DMIRS licensing processes and are listed in each published performance report. Some targets are statutory and are set in regulation.
WA government agencies measure licensing performance in business days.
The department uses data management systems to record the date a licence application is received and finalised. Licence application assessment may require multiple interactions between the applicant and the regulator. For more complex applications, other government agencies may be involved. The timelines of each participant in the licence application assessment process is recorded.
Performance is reported as a percentage of licence applications finalised against targets (Figure 1). The department can also report the total timeline for key licensing processes. This includes the timeline for the department, the applicant, other government agencies and third parties. The total timeline can be important for project planning and financial decision making.
Figure 2 below provides an example of total timeline reporting. The total time for a petroleum survey application was 89 business days. This comprises the DMIRS timeline of 38 business days (target 40 business days), the applicant timeline of 28 business days and other government agencies representing 23 business days.
DMIRS may seek advice from other government agencies as part of the assessment process. Inter-agency timelines are negotiated between DMIRS and the relevant approval agencies. In general, the inter-agency target timeline for provision of advice is 20 business days.
Performance reporting language
“Licensing” refers to regulatory processes and instruments such as licences, permits, approvals, grants, acceptances, registrations, notifications, authorisations and certifications.
“Finalise” refers to a regulatory decision end-point. The regulatory authority may finalise an application by approving or declining an application. An application may also be withdrawn by the applicant. The date an application was withdrawn is considered to be the date it was finalised.
“Total timeline” usually refers to the period between the application lodgement date (day 1) and the date the application is finalised. This includes the time taken by the regulator, the applicant and other participants in the assessment process. Total timeline can also be referred to as “end-to-end”, “life-of-application” and “whole-of-approval”.
“Stop-the-clock” refers to a timeline event within the licence application assessment process. The term is misleading as the clock does not stop until the application is finalised. The clock continues to tick throughout the assessment process but the timeline responsibility changes.
For complex applications, the application assessment process could be thought of as a track and field relay team race with the “baton” or timeline responsibility changing hands during the race. The “relay race” usually begins with application lodgement. The first runner out of the blocks is the regulator. However, if the application is missing important information, the regulator requests this information from the applicant. The timeline responsibility “baton” changes to the applicant.
When the applicant provides the information, timeline responsibility is returned to the regulator. The date and time of each “baton” change is recorded and each participant timeline is measured. The total timeline for a finalised application is the sum of all participant timelines.
Performance reporting frequency
DMIRS has committed to agency performance reporting on a quarterly basis. Quarterly reporting provides the public more transparent and timely information about agency licensing performance, application numbers and industry trends. The DMIRS target is to publish quarterly performance reports within 60 business days of the end of the report period.