There has been renewed focus on streamlining the approvals process by the NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and WA Premier Colin Barnett, who are calling for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to reverse the abandoned Labor promise to streamline the environmental approval process.
Streamlining the approvals process is an initiative that has been recommended and actively promoted by the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) which has been working with state and federal Governments to initiate this reform.
“The range, number and complexity of approvals processes are constantly increasing, resulting in unnecessary delays, additional costs and taxpayer revenue foregone,” said AMEC CEO, Simon Bennison.
“Industry continues to request a more streamlined and efficient approvals system, whilst ensuring that environmental, cultural heritage, native title and community values are not compromised.
“The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has acknowledged that considerable Federal Government resources can be saved by delegating its assessment and approval powers under the EPBC Act to accredited State and Territory Governments under the existing bi-lateral agreement process. This will create a single point of contact for environmental approvals.
“Expanding the existing bi-lateral agreements, by the Federal Government delegating its approval powers to accredited State and Territory Governments, is fundamental to maintaining momentum on projects that are contributing to economic growth, job creation and ensuring future investment in Australia.
“This needs to be back on the table as a key policy issue for the next term of Government to remove the current significant duplications and additional layers of approval required by the EPBC Act, whilst maintaining high environmental standards,” said Mr Bennison.