Joint media release: New package to advance environmental law reform

15 March 2022

The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment
The Hon Keith Pitt MP, Minister for Resources and Water

As part of our plan for a stronger future, the Morrison Government has announced a $128.5 million Budget reform package to provide greater certainty around environmental protection, streamline assessment and decision-making processes, and strengthen compliance.

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said that the measures, to be included in this month’s Federal Budget, will help protect the environment, while supporting economic recovery and helping to create jobs in regional and rural communities.

  • $62.3 million will be invested in the delivery of as many as 10 regional plans in priority development regions. These will protect areas of environmental significance, streamline assessments and manage cumulative impacts.
  • $37.9 million will support the streamlining of assessment processes including $10 million to progress single touch approval process and $27.9 million to continue on time assessment determinations which have risen to 96% in the last three years.
  • $28.4 million will support informed decision making including $12 million to modernise the environmental offsets policy, $9.5 million to improve compliance, $4.9 million to strengthen our knowledge base of protected plants and animals and $2 million to scope a new advisory committee to provide expert industry and technology advice to government.

“This is a package that will improve the quality and reliability of data used in assessments and decision making, ensure greater transparency and flexibility around environmental offsets and reduce duplication and delay in the assessment and approval process,” Minister Ley said.

“It represents another important step in delivering much needed environmental reform that reduces unnecessary delay and duplication, while strengthening safeguards.”
Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt highlighted the importance of regional planning in further streamlining environmental approvals.

“The 10 new regional plans will streamline development approvals, including those for crucial resources projects, by removing the need for a project-by-project approval under national environment law,” Minister Pitt said.

“This will boost investor confidence by identifying areas within a particular region where development activities may be undertaken while ensuring that strong environmental protections are maintained.”

Today’s funding announcement comes on top of a $47 million expansion of the Digital Environmental Assessment Program to ensure assessments are based on consistent data allowing them to be made more quickly and with greater transparency.