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Productivity Commission Report Provides Commonsense Recommendations

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME) welcomes the release of the Productivity Commission’s final report on Major Project Development Assessment Processes and supports a number of the key recommendations.

The Commission’s report acknowledges many key approval issues raised by CME including unnecessary regulatory burdens on project proponents, lengthy approval timeframes, lack of regulatory certainty and transparency, all of which are contributing to the high cost of doing business in Australia.

“CME is encouraged by the Abbott Government’s early progress in addressing duplication between environmental assessment and approval processes at the State and Commonwealth level through the implementation of their one-stop-shop policy,” said CME Chief Executive Reg Howard-Smith

“When fully implemented, this policy will help deliver more streamlined and cost efficient approvals, reducing the Commonwealth’s involvement on a project-by-project basis, and enabling a focus on more on strategic outcomes for biodiversity,” said Mr Howard-Smith.

CME supports the Commission’s recommended review of environmental offsets.  CME welcomes national alignment at the policy level and considers this is achievable in the near term, however, States must maintain the flexibility to apply offset methodologies to suit state based environment, development and land tenure issues.

The Commission’s report calls into question the ‘water trigger’ amendment to the EPBC Act and whether the regulatory burden is resulting in any net benefits to the community or the environment.  CME considers the ‘water trigger’ to be a clear example of duplication of State responsibility by the Commonwealth and supports its immediate repeal.

CME looks forward to working closely with the both state and federal governments in implementing the Productivity Commission’s recommendations to ensure the Western Australian resources sector continues to be at the heart of national growth into the future.