ScoMo to cut green tape for major mining projects

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced plans that promise to cut complex project approval times from years to months.

The government intends to create a single digital environmental approvals process to help push a large pipeline of major projects forward over the next decade starting with Western Australia, Morrison said during a speech to the Business Council of Australia on Wednesday night.

The Prime Minister said his government was focussed on busting the obstacles that slowed down and even stopped business investment and job creation.

The digital platform will be a consistent nationwide process that will help get national projects up and running faster, along with a biodiversity database that will be rolled out nationally.

“Our deregulation agenda has a laser focus on reducing the regulatory compliance burden on business,” Morrison says.

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ben Morton added that government was tackling regulation from the viewpoint of business, “putting ourselves in their shoes, getting down on the factory floor and looking at regulation from their perspective.”

“There is always more work to do, but the government has renewed our commitment to deregulation,” Morton said.

The government will also deliver a one-stop shop for business registers that makes it easier for businesses to interact with the government.

It is working to adopt regulation technology (‘regtech’) solutions so businesses can navigate and comply with regulatory requirements cost-effectively.

The government will also continue working with states and territories and the business community to simplify Australia’s business environment.

“We want to create the space for businesses in our economy to back themselves and take our growth to the next level,” Morrison said.

“The reforms we’re delivering hone in on what we’ve been hearing directly from Australian businesses that will help them grow and employ more people.”

Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Tania Constable conceded that regulatory complexity and duplication, including overlapping state and federal processes, has delayed minerals projects and reduced global competitiveness without improving environmental protection.

The announced measures are positive steps towards a more certain and timely approvals process, according to Constable.

“The current review of the the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act and the Productivity Commission’s review provide further opportunities to the federal government to act so Australia’s minerals industry can provide more sustainable, highly-skilled jobs and support stronger regional communities,” she concluded.

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