02/07/2009 - 00:00

Approvals overhaul sought

02/07/2009 - 00:00

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THE Minerals Council of Australia and the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association have seized on a review of key federal government environmental legislation to step up their campaign for reforms to the approvals process.

THE Minerals Council of Australia and the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association have seized on a review of key federal government environmental legislation to step up their campaign for reforms to the approvals process.

The Minerals Council said the release of the interim report into the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act highlighted the urgent need for more efficient and effective project approvals processes.

It said the report had identified significant duplication and a lack of coordination between state and federal approvals processes.

The council said this regulatory burden delivered little if any additional benefits to the environment, yet imposed significant costs to the taxpayer and industry.

The minerals industry spends millions of dollars each year meeting the significant administrative requirements of the EPBC Act and state approvals processes.

The council claimed there was no evidence the Commonwealth's administration of EPBC Act, separate to the states, delivered improved environmental outcomes above those achieved through existing state processes.

It recommended eliminating duplication by refocusing the Commonwealth's administration of the act to strategic guidance within which the states would assess individual projects.

This would include the removal of the Commonwealth from project-by-project approval processes.

APPEA chief executive Belinda Robinson said the findings of the report supported the results of a recent Productivity Commission review that found red tape was 'diminishing the present value of petroleum resource extraction in Australia by billions of dollars each year'.

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