JOINT MEDIA RELEASE WITH HON ALBERT JACOB, WA MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
The Western Australian and Australian Governments are now one step closer to creating a One-Stop Shop for environmental assessments and approvals.
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Western Australian Minister for Environment Albert Jacob today released a draft bilateral agreement on environmental approvals for public comment.
Once finalised, the bilateral agreement will accredit Western Australian environmental assessment and approval processes under national environment law.
Minister Hunt said that the Australian Government was committed to reducing the regulatory burden on business by streamlining the environmental approvals process.
“Duplication of Federal, State and local approvals processes adds complexity and cost to environmental approvals across the country – with no added environmental benefit,” he said.
“The One-Stop Shop policy will accredit state and territory regulatory processes under national environmental law, to create a single approval process that satisfies both approval requirements while maintaining high environmental standards.
“This will save Australian businesses around $420 million nationally every year”.
Minister Jacob said that the One-Stop Shop reform was aimed at reducing duplication between the federal and Western Australian Governments, creating a simpler, more efficient approvals system while still ensuring robust environmental oversight of development proposals.
“Having an approval bilateral agreement in place will mean only one decision is required for environmental approvals, accounting for both Western Australian matters and matters of national environmental significance,” he said.
“We are in no way lowering the bar for environmental assessments. We are simply removing pointless duplication to reduce the complexity of the existing system, which unnecessarily adds costs and delays to environmental approvals in Western Australia.”
The draft agreement is open for public comment until 13 February, 2015. This extended public comment period takes into account the fact that consultation is occurring over the Christmas/New Year period.
Further information can be found at www.environment.gov.au/topics/environment-protection/environment-assessments/bilateral-agreements