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EPBC single touch approval: sensible and long overdue reform

The Property Council of Australia has strongly welcomed the Federal Government’s response to the interim report into Australia’s environmental protection legislation.

“There has never been a more critical time to ensure that our regulatory regime is free of unnecessary process and strikes the right balance between environmental protection and sustainability and enabling economic growth and job creation,” said Ken Morrison, Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia.

“It has never made sense for two levels of government to have overlapping responsibilities for the assessment of environmental protection issues.

“This announcement would mean a one-touch assessment pathway for housing and commercial property projects, a sensible and long overdue reform.

“Our industry is a world-leader in promoting sustainable development while also meeting the needs of a modern and diverse economy and growing population,” Mr Morrison said.

“The property industry has been the largest user of the assessment and approvals process under the EPBC, making up 27 per cent of all referrals in the 2018-19 financial year.”

The Property Council strongly endorses the Commonwealth Government’s commitment to priority areas for action on the basis of the interim report, including:

  • the development of national environmental standards to underpin new assessment and approval agreements with State Governments;
  • the removal of procedural duplication through single touch approvals; and,
  • exploring market-based solutions for better habitat restoration that improve environmental outcomes while delivering greater certainty for business.

Mr Morrison said it was pleasing to see the Commonwealth moving ahead while continuing consultation on a range of other issues and reform directions addressed in the interim report.

“We need to keep evolving the EPBC Act towards legislative best-practice in a way which meets the expectations of the community around environmental protection, as well as removing unnecessary, inefficient and costly duplication and bureaucratic process,” Mr Morrison said.

Media contact: Matt Francis | M 0467 777 220  | E mfrancis@propertycouncil.com.au