All Pain for No Environmental Gain

Proposed amendments to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act represent another broken promise, and another sign that the federal government is making announcements that are just for show, said Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott.

“Maintaining environmental protection standards is vital to preserve Australia’s natural heritage,” said Ms Westacott.

“The government has established the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development. States and territory governments have responded to community concerns about coal and coal seam gas projects by heavily regulating them.

“Today’s announcement would duplicate state and territory processes and in the process add new layers of unnecessary uncertainty, complexity and cost.

“It flies in the face of what makes sense for jobs and the economy, while offering no tangible benefit to the environment.

“Less than three months ago, the government agreed with the business community that environmental assessment and approvals for major projects should and could be streamlined while maintaining environmental standards.

“Both the Commonwealth and the states were ready to make these changes because they recognise this pipeline of projects will underpin the Australian economy and jobs well into the future.”

The Business Council’s advice has been that the federal government should establish environmental standards, and develop bilateral agreements to accredit state/territory environmental approvals where these standards are met.

“This will deliver environmental outcomes without costly double handling.”

For further information contact:
Scott Thompson, Director, Media and Public Affairs
Business Council of Australia
Telephone (03) 8664 2664 | Mobile 0403 241 128