Australia’s national and state resource sector bodies have combined to call on Federal Parliament to support pragmatic, targeted and reasonable amendments to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act which the government will bring forward for debate this week.
Passage of these Bills would protect the environment while supporting resources jobs and regional communities.
As Australia recovers from COVID-19, creating more resources jobs more quickly to support economic growth and regional communities while boosting environmental protection is a clear path to a stronger Australia.
EPBC Act approvals for resources projects can take over 1,000 days, with every day of delay costing up to $1 million.
The second independent 10-year statutory review of the EPBC Act found it was outdated and required urgent reform.
After a decade of inaction following the previous review, action is needed to fix inefficient and ineffective laws which are delaying major resource projects and failing to protect the environment.
The Australian Government has introduced two bills to lay the foundations of reforms to the EPBC Act and deliver single touch environmental approvals and the development of national environmental standards.
The Bills reflect the position supported by all governments at National Cabinet. These reforms would improve the operation of the Act by reducing duplication and delays while improving environmental outcomes.
It is important these reforms occur in accordance with this government’s proposed timeline to provide clarity and certainty to all stakeholders.
The Commonwealth should also ensure that appropriate funding is provided to State and Territory governments for the establishment and operation of bilateral agreements.
Given that the comprehensive reform required will take years, the time to start the reform journey is now.
Joint statement from:
Tania Constable, Chief Executive Officer, Minerals Council of Australia
Andrew McConville, Chief Executive, Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association
Stephen Galilee, Chief Executive Officer NSW Minerals Council
Ian Macfarlane, Chief Executive, Queensland Resources Council
Paul Everingham, Chief Executive, Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia
Rebecca Knol, Chief Executive Officer, South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy