Approvals strengthened to meet infrastructure pipeline

15 June 2020

Environmental approval processes are being further streamlined with states to ensure robust processes are in place to meet the infrastructure pipeline post COVID.

The Commonwealth will continue to take steps to cut project approval times under the EPBC Act. At the end of 2019, the final stage of approval decisions took 90 days on average. Today they take 40 days.

The Prime Minister today announced measures to reduce these a further 25 percent by the end of this year – to 30 days for major projects - while maintaining strong environmental safeguards under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Specialist major project teams, the development of central data bases and improved communication between state and federal departments are ensuring clearer processes and greater certainty around environmental safeguards.

Fifteen major projects will be fast-tracked for approval between the Commonwealth, states and territories. We are targeting a 50% reduction in Commonwealth assessment and approval times of major projects, from an average of 3.5 years to 21 months.

In the process we are making companies even more proactive in identifying and complying with environmental safeguards under the Act, particularly in the light of the Bushfire Crisis.

Important environmental approvals such as the Chaffey Dam pipe-line are being made ahead of time without any relaxation of environmental safeguards.

We are getting congestion out of the system and we will continue to do so as the economy comes through COVID-19. The National Cabinet will discuss further measures to streamline Commonwealth and state processes and will be informed by the current EPBC review.

The current review of EPBC Act is being conducted by Professor Graeme Samuel and is due to provide an interim report by the end of this month.