QUEENSLAND Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell last week announced that Parliament has passed laws to cut green-tape, calling it one the most significant reforms to licensing processes in over a decade.
The Greentape Reduction Bill aims to save businesses thousands of dollars and contributes to the Queensland Government's target of reducing red tape and regulation by 20 per cent.
"After consulting with industry it is evident that businesses need certainty to invest and flexibility to allow for growth. The amendments will deliver just that," Mr Powell said.
According to the government, the new legislation removes duplicate provisions, reducing the Environmental Protection Act by 90 pages, or over 12 per cent of the current Act, with a single clear process.
It is expected that a standard application will save on average $20,000 in costs, 150 pages in paper work and 68 days in processing time. It is also expected to result in a $12.5 million saving in government administrative costs.
The Bill streamlines mining and petroleum approvals by clarifying the application process and removing the need for administrative transfers while ensuring communities are consulted earlier in the process.
"We've consulted every step along the way of the Greentape project with industry, community and government organisations to ensure we get this right," Mr Powell said.
"This in no way lowers environmental standards it merely simplifies the approval process, saving applicants time and money.
"The good news, it doesn't stop here, we're looking at other options including removing the need for small business environmental risk assessments to obtain an environmental authority at all. This could include motor vehicle workshops, small chemical storage and boiler making businesses," the Minister said.
The removal of plans of operations requirements for small miners will also remove a 15 page administrative requirement from around 2,400 operators.
The new framework is intended to commence in March 2013 to allow time for more detailed information to be made available to industry and the wider community.
Also last week, Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Andrew Cripps, introduced the Mines Legislation (Streamlining) Amendment Bill 2012 in Parliament.
According to the government, the Bill proposes to:
- Modernise the tenure administration system and reduce the time taken for each tenure decision under the Streamlining Approvals Project;
- Clarify legislation so that resource activities (such as exploration) and development activities (such as transport and infrastructure development) can coexist;
- Clarify an application of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to hazardous chemicals and major hazard facilities; and
- Support the delivery of coal seam gas to liquefied natural gas, or CSG-to-LNG, projects in Queensland.
Mr Cripps said a key area of streamlining will be online service delivery through the Department of Natural Resources and Mines web-based 'MyMinesOnline' system.