The Australian Government’s plans to introduce a one-stop-shop for environmental approvals has stalled after the Australian Greens secured an agreement with the Palmer United Party (PUP) to block the Bill, which would amend the Environmental Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC), from passing through the Senate.
The reforms aim to reduce duplication and regulatory burden by accrediting state and territory planning systems under national environmental law to create a single environmental assessment and approval process for nationally protected matters. The reforms were expected to save proponents AU$1 billion by “slashing red and green tape”.
The Business Council of Australia has described the deal as a “backward step for Australia’s competitiveness and job creation and a loss for the environment and the economy”. CEO Jennifer Westacott says the one-stop- shop for approvals was recognised by all governments as “the right way to go”..
Six of Australia’s leading business groups, including UDIA and the Property Council of Australia, are calling on the Senate to reconsider their position and pass the critical one-stop-shop reforms as soon as possible. In a joint statement released on 2 October 2014, the business groups stated that “if the Senate fails to pass the one-stop- shop reforms, it will be hindering the competitiveness of Australian businesses, lowering national output, and ultimately reducing the living standards of all Australians”.