Streamlined environment process plan on public display

The Abbott government have released a draft “one-stop-shop” environmental assessment plan for the Northern Territory.

The two governments signed a memorandum of understanding In November, aiming to give the NT more power to conduct environmental assessments and approvals for major projects on behalf of the Commonwealth.

The deal aims to cut the duplications seen in the current system, resulting in fast tracking decisions on projects.

Cutting green tape and regulatory burdens was a key goal for the Coalition, who says the move will provide businesses with more certainty, which will in turn spur investment in the state.

Federal Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, said the government was aiming to make doing business easier, whilst still maintaining strict environmental standards.

“Under this agreement, the Federal Government will retain the power to approve or refuse actions, and to attach conditions to approved projects,” Hunt said.

Northern Territory Minister for Environment Peter Chandler said the agreement would act to both streamline and strengthen the environmental assessment process.

“Furthermore it is evidence the Northern Territory has matured as a jurisdiction which is a

key theme for this government as we move to drive the development of Northern Australia,” Chandler said.

The next stage of the agreement will see Northern Territory environmental approval systems accredited under national environmental law.

The draft bilateral agreement is open for public comment until Tuesday 6 May 20114.

All Australian states and territories are on board to develop a one-stop shop for environmental assessments and approvals within 12 months.

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