“Professor Graeme Samuel’s final report on Australia’s environmental protection laws shows that protecting the environment and major project approvals are not mutually exclusive,” Business Council President Tim Reed said.
“This is a once in a decade opportunity to deliver better environmental outcomes and let businesses do what they do best - create new jobs.
“The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act is an outdated handbrake on investment and it isn’t working to protect Australia’s natural environment.
“Significantly, these reforms represent a way forward. We all agree, lifting environmental standards and promoting economic development is a win-win.
“To avoid a stop-start approach to reform, we’ll need to continue building on the unprecedented co-operation we’ve achieved with industry and environmental groups throughout this process.
“Reducing duplication by accrediting state and territory processes alongside national environmental standards will make it easier to do business across the country and will provide the clear accountability and transparency needed to protect the environment.
“Crucially, this plan means we can build a modern, fit-for-purpose system by learning and collaborating as we work together to improve the national standards over the next two years.
“Confidence in national standards and accreditation agreements must also be delivered through strong, independent oversight that helps build public trust.
“We look forward to working with the government as it delivers its response to the final report to ensure the EPBC Act is fit for purpose to deliver the environmental standards all Australians want alongside the new jobs big projects can deliver.
“The Minister should be applauded for her work bringing everyone to the table to drive consensus around durable and effective reform.
“We congratulate Professor Samuel and the panel for their commitment to working together to deliver better approvals processes and environmental outcomes.”