Productivity Commission backs plans to cut resources red tape

Joint media release with Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ben Morton.

The Australian Government welcomed the Productivity Commission’s final report on Resources Sector Regulation that makes a number of recommendations to improve approval processes by removing duplication and cutting red and green tape.

Commissioned as part of the Coalition Government’s National Resources Statement, the study and its findings aim to ensure that Australia continues to have efficient regulatory settings for the nationally significant resources sector.

The study makes 47 findings and 11 recommendations to reduce regulatory duplication and streamline approval processes to ensure the sector maintains its international reputation as a leading destination for investment.

Resources, Water and Northern Australia Minister Keith Pitt said the Productivity Commission report backed the Government’s plans to streamline environmental approvals, and to oppose state-based moratoria on resources developments.

“The Australian Government remains committed to cutting red tape and to removing unnecessary bureaucratic barriers that impede developments and damage investor confidence in Australia’s resources sector,” Minister Pitt said.

“As Australia recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that we encourage investment and development in the sector, which has continued to underpin our economy throughout the pandemic.”

“The resources sector remains a pillar of the Australian economy, accounting for more than half of Australia’s total exports, employing around 250,000 Australians and supporting more than 1 million other jobs across the country.”

Minister Pitt said while Australia was a top ranking country for resources investment, greater certainty was important to unlock new growth and job creation.

“Now more than ever, as Australia is recovering from the COVID-19 downturn, it is important to make sure our regulatory frameworks are fit for purpose,” Minister Pitt said.

“The Productivity Commission has delivered a fresh look at ways to unlock our resources potential and improve investor confidence, including predictability and certainty of decisions in relation to scope 3 emissions, getting rid of state-based bans and moratoria on gas developments, and removing duplication in regulatory processes.

“I look forward to working with states and territories to address recommendations and improve outcomes for industry and communities – consistent with this report, the review of Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and my commitment to continuous improvement.”

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Ben Morton, welcomed the report’s findings about the need to provide clear guidance of expectations to regulators, reduce Commonwealth-state duplication and inconsistencies and to ensure regulatory reform encourages investment and builds community trust in regulatory frameworks.

“The report’s findings align with a Government Budget initiative to lift regulator performance, capability and culture by the creation of function within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to work across all Commonwealth departments to identify, share and embed regulator best practice,” Assistant Minister Morton said.

The full Productivity Commission Report on Resources Sector Regulation can be found here.

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