We welcome the release of the interim report into Australia’s environmental protection laws which provides a blueprint for more effective regulation to protect the environment while helping to drive new investment and create new jobs, Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.
“What has been achieved in this review is a way forward that increases accountability, increases the transparency of decision making and retains the central goal of protecting the environment.
“This is a positive step towards a better system that fosters collaboration to protect the environment and helps businesses do what they do best – create new jobs.
“Protecting the environment and major project approvals are not mutually exclusive.
“This review makes no compromises when it comes to safeguarding the environment but does make sensible recommendations to simplify our complex environmental protection system and make it easier for all parties to navigate.
“Our natural resources and our environment are amongst our greatest economic and community assets, we need to have a regulatory environment that protects them.
“A simplified, transparent and cost effective national environmental approval system will deliver for the whole community by protecting the environment and making it easier for businesses to invest, start new projects and create new jobs.
“Crucially, this review embraces the ‘tell us once’ culture that can see information shared so that unnecessary, expensive and confusing duplication is limited.
“We also welcome recommendations to develop consistent, detailed national environmental standards, which will give all parties more certainty and will provide a pathway to devolution to the states and territories based on rigorous, enforceable and accredited processes. Moves towards single touch approvals by letting states carry out environmental assessments on behalf of the Federal Government are a positive step.
“We look forward to working closely and collaboratively with the government and environmental organisations on the implementation of national environmental standards to provide confidence that outcomes will be delivered.
“We thank Professor Samuel and the panel for their stewardship of this review, bringing the full spectrum of stakeholders together to build system that delivers for everyone. We look forward to continuing to work with the government on issues which require further investigation, including the water trigger and appeals process.
“By working together we can deliver the environmental standards that are important to businesses, farmers and Australians while building a system that helps create the new jobs we will need to fuel our recovery.”