PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Western Australian government has welcomed confirmation of the federal government’s intent to enter into a landmark agreement with the state government to provide a single avenue for environmental assessments and approvals.
The agreement is expected to result in the removal of duplication and would reduce the timeframe for environmental approvals by an average of six months, Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan said on Monday.
“Our government's main priority is ensuring Western Australia is in a strong positon to recover from the pandemic, with employment opportunities created for Western Australians.
"This agreement will pave the way for important job-creating projects, while maintaining the highest environmental standards,” McGowan said.
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said that the bilateral approval agreement would complement the state government’s work with the Commonwealth on Environment Online, and with the Biodiversity Conservation Act, released last month.
“This bilateral agreement between the state and Commonwealth governments is a long awaited step to kick-start the economy and streamline the environmental approvals process.
"It's also significant because consistent and timely environmental decision making benefits the community in Western Australia and is a win for the environment,” said Dawson.
"In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has never been a more important time to facilitate economic activity, while safeguarding the environment for future generations.
"The state's pipeline of development proposals will benefit from the faster, clearer and more consistent environmental assessments and approvals that we can achieve with a bilateral approval agreement."
It is estimated that Western Australia has around A$100-billion worth of development proposals in the pipeline, which would benefit from a bilateral agreement.