The Business Council of Australia has made a submission on the Productivity Commission’s draft report on Major Project Development Assessment Processes
We welcome the commission’s broad findings that there is substantial scope to improve Australia’s project approvals regimes. We agree with most of the report’s recommendations, in particular:
- the application of a ‘one project, one assessment, one approval’ framework across governments (which we argue the commission should also push more strongly within each state government)
- a timeline for COAG to implement effective bilateral approval agreements under the EPBC Act
- greater use of strategic planning and assessments as a way to reduce the time and cost of Environmental Impact Statements.
However, we do not agree with the commission’s recommendations in the report expanding decision review, standing and enforcement which appear to increase the risk of litigation to project proponents and we have urged them a rethink.
We are expecting that the final report, due later this year, will provide a strong basis for fundamental reform of development assessment in Australia.