News National Government streamlines project approvals

Government streamlines project approvals

Sussan Ley
It's too simplistic to claim the election was lost on climate change, Liberal deputy Sussan Ley says. Photo: AAP
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A $128 million package to cut red and green tape and streamline approvals under environmental law has been unveiled ahead of the federal budget.

More than $60 million will go towards up to 10 regional plans in priority development regions to protect areas of environmental significance.

A single touch approval process — where the Commonwealth would enter into agreements with state governments to assess the environmental impacts of major projects — will be funded to the tune of $10 million.

Environment Minister Sussan Ley says the reforms will strengthen environmental safeguards and enhance compliance.

“This is a package that will improve the quality and reliability of data used in assessments and decision making, ensure greater transparency and flexibility around environmental offsets and reduce duplication and delay in the assessment and approval process,” Ms Ley said.

Almost $40 million will go towards streamlining the assessment process, while $28 million will support “informed decision making”.

This includes $12 million to modernise environmental offsets policy, $9.5 million to improve compliance, $4.9 million to strengthen knowledge of protected plants and animals and $2 million to scope a new advisory committee to provide expert industry and technology advice to the government.

Resources Minister Keith Pitt says the regional plans would boost investor confidence by identifying areas where developments can be undertaken while strong environmental protections are maintained.

“The 10 new regional plans will streamline development approvals, including those for crucial resources projects, by removing the need for a project-by-project approval under national environment law,” Mr Pitt said.