Streamlined approvals process receives mixed response

streamAUSTRALIAN states and territories will be responsible for environmental approvals after securing an agreement with the Federal Government to cut red tape.
The new process was introduced by Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the Council of Australian Governments to streamline the process so major projects only need to be looked at once.
The Coalition described the new assessment and approvals process as a “one-stop shop” that would deliver more timely approvals and be simpler for businesses.
States and territories would assume Commonwealth powers and assess applications under state and federal legislation.
Mr Abbott told council members there would be “much less red and green tape” and paperwork, which could mean more investment and more jobs.
However, the Australian Greens described the new policy as “environmentally destructive” and a “black day for environment”.
“We can’t trust state governments with our nationally and internationally significant environmental icons, and standards of environmental protection will drop under their watch,” Australian Greens environment spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters said.
“Not only does Tony Abbott’s plan do away with decades of national environment protection now and into the future, it means much more work for state environment departments, many of which have suffered severe job losses.”
The Business Council of Australia welcomed the move, stating that the “commitment by all state governments to negotiate bilateral agreements with the Commonwealth under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act is a long overdue breakthrough, which will begin the process of securing Australia’s massive investment pipeline, without lowering environmental standards”.