NSW-COMMONWEALTH MoU ON PROJECT APPROVALS – THE MOMENTUM FOR REFORM BUILDS

Today's signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on project approvals between the Commonwealth and New South Wales Governments adds to the momentum towards a nationally consistent and streamlined process for approving job and wealth-generating projects without diminishing environmental standards.

This important breakthrough follows Queensland’s support for the “One Stop Shop” approach last month and is another significant step in the long struggle to untangle green without compromising protection of the environment.

Prime Minister Abbott, Premier Barry O’Farrell and Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt are to be applauded for addressing a major component of Australia's redundant regulatory burden.

The minerals industry has long advocated the need to streamline federal and state processes so that the Commonwealth sets the standards for environmental responsibilities under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and devolves assessment and approvals functions to the states - with appropriate checks and balances in place.

An audit for the Minerals Council of Australia by environmental and economic consultants URS comparing approvals laws in 2006 and today shows there has been more than 120 changes to state and federal government approvals laws and supporting legislation.

The audit shows there have been six new pieces of legislation, six replacement Acts and more than 60 sets of amendments to approvals laws; and 50 sets of additions and amendments to subordinate legislation, regulations and codes of practice.

The minerals industry urges the remaining state and territory governments to work with the Commonwealth to progress the “One Stop Shop” policy consistent with government and industry's mutual objectives of reducing unnecessary regulation and costs without compromising the environmental standards Australians rightly expect.

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