Dec 10, 2020

Productivity Commission backs plans to cut red tape

Productivity Commission backs plans to cut red tape

A Productivity Commission report on resources sector regulation backs plans to streamline environmental approvals, Federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt says.

“The Australian Government remains committed to cutting red tape and to removing unnecessary bureaucratic barriers that impede developments and damage investor confidence in Australia’s resources sector,” Mr Pitt said.

“As Australia recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that we encourage investment and development in the sector, which has continued to underpin our economy throughout the pandemic.”

The Productivity Commission identified 48 practices to lower costs for industry and deliver environmental and social outcomes of importance to the community.

Commissioner Lisa Gropp said the community needed confidence in regulation and how it was enforced.

“As well as identifying many opportunities for streamlining and simplification we also found a need for more rigour in areas, such as protection of Indigenous heritage,” she said.

The report lists duplication of regulatory processes as a major issue for project proponents, causing significant delays.

The report identifies opportunities for more co-operation, better coordination between regulators and more effective use of data to reduce timelines.

Mr Pitt said while Australia was a top ranking country for resources investment, greater certainty was important to unlock new growth and job creation.

Federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt.

“Now more than ever, as Australia is recovering from the COVID-19 downturn, it is important to make sure our regulatory frameworks are fit for purpose,” he said.

“The Productivity Commission has delivered a fresh look at ways to unlock our resources potential and improve investor confidence, including predictability and certainty of decisions in relation to scope 3 emissions, getting rid of state-based bans and moratoria on gas developments, and removing duplication in regulatory processes.

“I look forward to working with states and territories to address recommendations and improve outcomes for industry and communities – consistent with this report, the review of Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and my commitment to continuous improvement.”