Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell this afternoon passed laws to cut green-tape that have been strangling Queensland businesses.
The Greentape Reduction Bill is the most significant reform to licensing processes in over a decade. It will save businesses thousands of dollars and contributes to the Newman government’s target of reducing red tape and regulation by 20 per cent.
“After consulting with industry it is evident that businesses need certainty to invest and flexibility to allow for growth. The amendments will deliver just that,” Mr Powell said.
The LNP government is staring down the barrel of a $100 billion debt left by Labor and it is crucial that we work with industry, particularly with the small business sector, encourage economic growth and reduce government spending,” he said.
By taking out duplicated provisions, the Bill reduces the Environmental Protection Act by 90 pages – over 12 per cent of the current Act with a single clear process.
A standard application will save on average $20,000 in costs, 150 pages in paper work and 68 days in processing time.
The environmental approval process will be changed to ensure greater flexibility for operators delivers a saving in government administrative costs of $12.5million.
The Bill streamlines mining and petroleum approvals by clarifying the application process and removing the need for administrative transfers while ensuring communities are consulted earlier in the process.
“We’ve consulted every step along the way of the Greentape project with industry, community and government organisations to ensure we get this right,” Minister Powell said.
“This in no way lowers environmental standards it merely simplifies the approval process, saving applicants time and money.”
“The good news, it doesn’t stop here, we’re looking at other options including removing the need for small business environmental risk assessments to obtain an environmental authority at all. This could include motor vehicle workshops, small chemical storage and boiler making businesses.”
The removal of plans of operations requirements for small miners will also remove a 15 page administrative requirement from around 2,400 operators.
The new framework is intended to commence in March 2013 to allow time for more detailed information to be made available to industry and the wider community.