Green cuts

WESTERN Australia’s government is slashing environmental assessment timeframes for major projects by up to 12-months to minimise delays and speed $100 billion worth of major projects down the development pipeline.
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Environmental assessment processes streamlined in WA. Photo by Karma Barndon

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Another $12.4 million has been spent on the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation's Environment Online hub to improve the transparency and consistency of environmental approvals and cut the time taken for major projects to navigate joint state and federal approvals processes by 6-12 months.

WA premier Mark McGowan said the move would make it easier to navigate the correct and proper environmental approvals processes and create jobs to begin the process of economic recovery.

"Now is the perfect time to give assurances to business and industry that Western Australia remains open for business, despite the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic," he said.

Part of the state's post pandemic recovery plan, streamlining the environmental assessment process will help cut time and costs for industry and help accelerate delivery of some major projects and jobs.

Project delays cost miners tens of millions of dollars every year. By cutting months off assessment times industry-led projects could save up to $72 million per year and state government-led infrastructure projects up to $100 million.

The state is also opening a $9.2 million biodiversity information office that will complement the Environmental Online initiative, which is to be led by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

This office will capture, store, curate, publish and analyse biodiversity data from across the state.

WA environment minister Stephen Dawson said the online platform would bring together the state's key environmental priorities and the assurance from proponents that they have had due consideration for these shared priorities. 

"This level of strategic oversight delivers a greater level of transparency and improves the state's awareness of where the greatest environmental values are in WA," he said.

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