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The Coalition's policy for a one-stop-shop for environmental approvals

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The Coalition's policy for a one-stop-shop for environmental approvals June 26, 2013

A Coalition government will establish a one-stop-shop for environmental approvals and dramatically simplify the approvals

process across federal, state and local jurisdictions, while maintaining environmental standards.

Labor has increased environmental regulation without any equivalent increase in environmental outcomes.

The duplication of federal, state and local environmental approvals has added enormous complexity, cost and uncertainty.

Economic investment has been delayed and in many cases entirely deferred, not through rejection of projects but through the multiple layers of bureaucracy.

The Gillard Government has also reneged on its commitment to work with the states to reduce the duplication of the approvals

process and implement the recommendations of the Hawke Review.

According to the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association billions of dollars in projects are at risk because of the delays created by duplication in the approvals process.

A Coalition government will maintain current environmental protections while cutting the duplication and administrative burden

which is unnecessarily delaying major investments and hampering job creation.

The one-stop-shop will set high standards, make swift decisions and deliver certain outcomes.

State and territory governments will be given the opportunity to act as a one-stop-shop. This would include:

· Creation of a single approvals process for environmental assessment and approvals under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act via the state system, as part of long-term agreements with each state and territory.

· Development of the ability and incentive for local government to be part of the one-stop-shop single assessment process.

· Creation of a single lodgement and documentation process. The single documentation and assessment process could also

be expanded to make a single entry point and one-stop-shop for all government approvals across portfolios.

The Coalition has already held discussions with state and territory governments. The states are receptive because they also are frustrated by the delays in decision making and the lack of clarity over process.

Establishing a one-stop-shop for environmental approvals is part of the Coalition’s plan to deliver more efficient government and

more productive businesses through cutting $1 billion in red and green tape costs each year.

In a submission to COAG, the Business Council noted that obtaining approvals for one major project had cost $25 million and involved 4000 meetings, briefings and presentations and the preparation of a 12,000 page report. After two years, 1200 state and

300 Commonwealth conditions were imposed with a further 8000 sub-conditions.

The average Australian thermal coal project is now delayed by an additional 1.3 years relative to projects in competitor countries (3.1 years compared with 1.8 years internationally). Each year, the average delay increases by a further 3-4 months.

Under the Coalition’s policy, applications will continue to be assessed against relevant state and territory legislation, however this

will occur concurrently with the federal requirements, with proponents only having to interact with the one-stop-shop.

The progress of projects through the approvals system must be transparent so proponents know what stage they are at. Appointment of a single case manager will overcome the problem of assessments being shuffled around within the bureaucracy,

resulting in further delays.

Tony Abbott Federal Member for Warringah | Leader of the Opposition

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26 June 2013

© Tony Abbott MHR 2010 | Authorised by Tony Abbott MHR, Level 2, 17 Sydney Rd, Manly NSW 2095

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