November 21, 2019 09:59:54
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has flagged an overhaul of the environmental approval process for major projects, saying the current system is too complex, lengthy and tough to navigate.
- The Prime Minister said the Government would try and reduce the time it takes for businesses to get environmental approvals for big projects
- The comments come ahead of a major review of federal environmental laws
- Mr Morrison also flagged removing “clutter” from the enterprise bargaining and national awards systems
In a speech to the Business Council of Australia last night, Mr Morrison said the Government wanted to get big projects off the ground sooner.
“We’ve taken on board what businesses have been telling us — environmental approval processes for major projects are overly complex and duplicative and they take too long,” he said.
He said the Government would try to reduce the length of time it takes businesses to navigate through the state and federal systems, by allowing them to submit an application online and track its progress.
“As in other areas, digital technology gives us the opportunity to make these processes faster and simpler,” he said.
“It takes approximately three-and-a-half years for a complex major project to navigate the state and Commonwealth environmental assessment processes.
“It is estimated this timeframe could be reduced by between six and 18 months through the better use of technology,” he said.
The flagged changes are part of the Coalition’s deregulation agenda, which aims to boost productivity.
The comments come ahead of a major review of federal environmental laws, which green groups say are failing and inadequate.
More than 240 scientists have warned of an “extinction crisis” unless the laws are beefed up and properly enforced.
Government wants to simplify the awards system
The Prime Minister also signalled the Government was looking to streamline enterprise bargaining and the national award system, arguing the current scheme is bad for business.
He said removing so-called “clutter” from the process would form part of the Government’s “fresh look” at industrial relations.
“While the number of awards has reduced, it appears that they have not become simpler, indeed many believe that they have become more complex,” Mr Morrison said.
“The degree of administrative clutter associated with the compliance regime and the enterprise bargaining process can also detract from business improvements that can arise from working together for mutual benefit and ensuring people get paid what they should get paid.”
However, he insisted there would be no changes to the system unless businesses made the case.
“But I again underscore the obligation on the business community … to marshal the evidence and make the case for change,” Mr Morrison said.