Today’s announcement that the Commonwealth and Northern Territory have signed a bilateral agreement for environmental assessments is a milestone for the efficient and effective management of Australia’s environment.

The Commonwealth, state and territory governments are to be congratulated for achieving eight one-stop shop environmental assessment agreements. It is very pleasing to end the year with this example of bipartisanship and practical, common sense reform.

One-stop shop environmental assessments provide a single process for environmental assessments which will be more efficient and less costly for all stakeholders. They reduce the regulatory burden on job and wealth-generating projects without in any way diminishing environmental protection.

Reducing the stranglehold of redundant green tape delivers economy wide benefits. Analysis undertaken for the MCA by BAEconomics demonstrates that reducing the length of time taken to achieve environmental approvals by one year will increase Australia’s national output by $160 billion and create an extra 69,000 jobs by 2025.

It is to be hoped that the momentum of today’s announcement and this year’s success will continue into 2015 and that the Senate plays its part by passing the enabling legislation to enable to next phase of these critical reforms early in the new Parliamentary year.

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