THE Australian and Northern Territory governments last week signed a new bilateral agreement for environmental assessments as part of the one-stop shop reforms that aim to remove duplication in regulation between the Commonwealth and the states and territories.
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt described the signing of the agreement as another important milestone in achieving the Australian Government's commitment to reducing the regulatory burden on business.
"This will reduce duplication of red tape and put in place a critical reform that will save business in Australia around $420 million each year," Mr Hunt said.
"Removing unnecessary duplication will streamline the assessment process for business while maintaining high environmental standards."
The agreement accredits Northern Territory environmental assessment legislation, administered by the Northern Territory EPA, to create a single assessment process that satisfies both governments' requirements. The Commonwealth Minister will retain responsibility for approving projects.
NT Environment Minister Gary Higgins said the new agreement replaces the previous bilateral assessment and will boost business, create jobs and lead to growth in the Territory's economy while ensuring that the highest environmental standards are kept in place.
"The positive move will eliminate duplication of federal and territory planning processes which adds complexity and cost to environmental approvals in the Northern Territory," Mr Higgins said.
The agreement between the Australian and Northern Territory governments means that all states and territories now have new bilateral agreements in place for environmental assessment.
More information is available from the Department of the Environment website at <http://www.environment.gov.au/protection/environment-assessments/bilateral-agreements/nt>.