Streamlined environmental approvals a step closer

Legislation to move to a ‘single-touch’ environmental approvals process is closer to fruition as a Bill is introduced to give the states a key role in the approvals process.

At a national cabinet meeting in on July 24, the state premiers agreed to streamline the environmental approvals system.

They are seeking to reduce the Commonwealth assessment and approval times for major projects by half, from an average of 3.5 years to 21 months.

CCIWA chief economist Aaron Morey says moving to simplify approvals for major projects is a “longstanding priority” for the Chamber and WA businesses.

“Costly, unnecessarily complex processes and duplication between state and federal laws all impede vital investment in our economy.

“Major projects provide skilled, high-paying jobs and create work pipelines for hundreds of businesses in mining services and throughout the supply chain.

“WA’s historically high wages and standard of living has been fostered by strong business investment and productivity, all fuelled by the strength of key industries like mining, energy and agriculture.”

Morey adds that WA is a world leader when it comes to accommodating the national interest, environmental rigour and quality regulatory oversight in considering major projects.

“There are over $118 billion in planned or possible major projects outstanding across WA’s resources and agriculture sectors, and securing the thousands of associated jobs without unnecessary costly delays will be critical to our recovery,” he says.

Federal Environment Minister Susan Ley on Wednesday (September 2) introduced the Bill to Parliament, which she says will make minor technical amendments to pave the way for states to take a key role in approvals.

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