COAG Needs to Act on Productivity Commission’s Major Projects Report

The Productivity Commission’s report on Major Project Development Assessment Processes is a timely reminder for this week’s meeting of the Council of Australian Governments that now more than ever Australia’s economic success is tied to the delivery of major projects, Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“The report has provided a set of practical recommendations that demonstrate how major project approvals can be delivered in a timely and competitive manner that protect environmental, heritage and community assets,” said Ms Westacott.

“In particular, we are reassured by the commission’s backing for a ‘one-project, one-assessment, one-decision’ framework that accredits state government environmental approvals for major projects where they do not compromise environmental standards.”

Other specific recommendations the BCA has welcomed include:

  • making greater use of integrated strategic planning and environmental assessments
  • conducting a regulatory impact analysis on the ‘water trigger’ provision in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act
  • introducing a suite of measures to improve timeframes for decisions and coordination.

“All governments need to recognise the importance of major projects to our economy and the living standards of all Australians,” said Ms Westacott.

“It is imperative that we are honest with the community about the challenges Australia faces in delivering project and how we must address them. This includes actions that will reduce costs and lift project productivity.”

Ms Westacott said the onus was on COAG to act on the Productivity Commission’s advice.

“When COAG meets on Friday it should develop a joint response to the report. Each jurisdiction, including the Commonwealth, should then develop an implementation plan to deliver on that response, including specific timeframes for action.

“Whilst the Australian Government is taking action to streamline arrangements between the Commonwealth and the states, it is now incumbent on the states to streamline their development assessment processes.”

For further information contact:
Scott Thompson, Director, Media and Public Affairs
Business Council of Australia
Telephone (03) 8664 2603 | Mobile 0403 241 128