“The deal reportedly struck between the Greens and the Palmer United Party (PUP) to block reforms that would remove unnecessary double-handling under the EPBC Act is a backward step for Australia’s competitiveness and for job creation,” BCA Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said.
“This action places political one-upmanship ahead of the national interest.”
Ms Westacott said the government’s plan to establish a one-stop-shop for approvals was recognised by all state governments and the previous and current federal governments as the right way to go, both for the environment and the economy.
“PUP’s apparent decision to now oppose the passage of the reform has no policy basis, and runs counter to the findings of independent reviews and agreements struck in good faith between the Commonwealth and the states.
“Half the states and territories have agreed to bilateral agreements with the Commonwealth.
“These reforms are critical to Australia’s ability to bring on the next wave of investment in major resource projects, and to ensure major infrastructure projects can be successfully delivered.
“While Australia’s competitor countries are undertaking serious economic reform in their long-term national interests, we have a situation where policymaking is uncertain, unpredictable and subject to political horse-trading conducted behind the community’s back.
“With Australia facing challenging economic headwinds, it should be a concern to all Australians and both major political parties that the country’s long-term interests are being compromised in this way.
“The PUP and Greens have made a deal that puts Australia’s competitiveness, investment and jobs at risk,” Ms Westacott said.
For further information contact:
Matt Newton, Communications Adviser
Business Council of Australia
Telephone (03) 8664 2627 • Mobile 0409 550 578