The Business Council of Australia welcomes Environment Minister Greg Hunt acting promptly to clear the backlog of 50 applications for coal and coal seam gas developments held up through the inaction of the former government, Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said.
The developments were stalled because the former minister had not made a decision on whether or not to refer them for consideration under the new ‘water trigger’ legislation.
“Minister Hunt’s action to clear the way for the projects to proceed through the assessment process is particularly timely, coming on the same day a key energy security summit in Sydney has heard about the need to significantly increase the supply of energy in New South Wales,” Ms Westacott said.
“The minister is clearly demonstrating he understands the importance of major energy projects to the economy, and to increasing the supply of energy to ensure energy security and to put downward pressure on energy prices.
“Environmental laws are in place to ensure major projects meet strong environmental requirements, not to be used as a tool to hold up applications indefinitely for political or other reasons.
“The timely development of major projects, while meeting strong environmental standards set by governments, is critical for the economy, jobs and revenue to regional communities,” Ms Westacott said.
Scott Thompson, Director, Media and Public Affairs
Business Council of Australia
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