Environmental approvals proposal a game changer for WA

The WA Government’s proposed agreement to create unprecedented State-Commonwealth cooperation on environmental approvals could cut waiting times by six months, facilitating the next wave of billion-dollar projects coming online across the State.

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA’s (CME) Chief Executive Paul Everingham said today’s announcement by Premier Mark McGowan to establish a bilateral environment approvals agreement would have a significant impact on state projects that are set to create thousands of jobs for Western Australians over the next few years.

Mr Everingham also welcomed the Government’s commitment to inject an additional $1.7 million into the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) Services to ensure timely resourcing for assessments.

“Today’s landmark announcement is a massive win for the State’s economy as it seizes the opportunity to bring forward the next wave of major projects through a level of cooperation between the State and Federal Government not seen before,” he said.

“It provides an effective solution to the duplication that exists within the current approvals process, by equipping the State Government with the accreditation to conduct assessments and issue a single approval, which will provide a huge boost to productivity.

“The renewed commitment from the State and Federal Government this year to reduce red tape for industry to create more job opportunities for Western Australians has been very promising and a welcome relief from years of overly bureaucratic approval systems that industry has had to deal with, which has stifled growth in this State.

“Following on from last week’s announcement by the Prime Minister for a faster and simpler digital environmental assessments portal, this will cement WA as an attractive investment destination and place to do business, which will have numerous flow-on benefits for the State’s economy.

“Our members support the additional funding for EPA resources, which will assist in clearing the current backlog among government agencies dealing with environmental approvals.”

Mr Everingham said CME would work with the State Government to gain the support of the Federal Government for the proposal.