THE Australian and South Australian governments this month released a draft bilateral agreement for approvals under national environment law for public comment.
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt said that he is committed to reducing the regulatory burden on business by streamlining the environmental approvals process and is working with state and territory governments to develop a 'one-stop shop' for environmental approvals.
"The Australian and South Australian Governments are making considerable progress in putting the One-Stop Shop in place for South Australia under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999," Mr Hunt said.
"We recently signed a new assessment bilateral agreement and we are now working towards an agreement for environmental approvals."
The draft agreement facilitates the establishment of a 'one-stop shop' for environmental approvals by accrediting South Australian processes for the approval of proposed actions that would otherwise be assessed by the Australian Government for approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Once finalised and implemented, the one-stop shop reforms aim to simplify the environmental approvals process by ensuring that only one approval – covering both Commonwealth and State requirements – is needed for proposed actions that are likely to have a significant impact on a matter of national environmental significance.
The Minister said the agreement provides the broadest scope for accreditation of processes under the Mining Act 1971 and the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 possible under national environmental law.
"This means that more businesses will be able to have their project assessed and approved under a single process," Mr Hunt said.
"The introduction of the one-stop shop reform will save Australian businesses around $420 million every year."
More information is available from the Department of the Environment website at <http://www.environment.gov.au/protection/environment-assessments/bilateral-agreements/sa>.