Ahead of this year’s Federal Budget to be handed down on 29 March 2022, the Morrison Government has announced that $128.5m has been earmarked to boost investor confidence by reforming environmental legislation to “provide greater certainty around environmental protection, streamline assessment and decision-making processes, and strengthen compliance,” according to the Hon Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment.
The government predicts the proposed reform will help protect the environment while supporting economic recovery and creating jobs in regional and rural communities by delivering:
- Up to 10 new regional plans in priority development regions, designed to:
- Protect matters of environmental significance
- Streamline assessments
- Manage cumulative impacts
- Support to streamline assessment processes, including continuing to improve the timeliness of decisions on Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act assessments
- Support for “informed decision making“, including:
- Modernising the environmental offsets policy
- Improving compliance
- Strengthening the knowledge base for protected flora and fauna
- Funding to scope a new advisory committee to provide expert and technology advice to the government.
The reforms seek to strike a balance between boosting investor confidence by identifying particular areas where development activities can be undertaken, especially for resource projects, while also streamlining and simplifying the assessment process and “ensuring that strong environmental protections are maintained”.
We believe the measures will be a positive step towards simplifying a notoriously complex approval process for development projects at a federal level and will be welcomed by the resource sector.
Tim has more than 20 years’ experience and leads Thynne + Macartney’s Planning + Environment team. He is a specialist in planning and environment law with expertise in litigation and advice concerning development, management and compliance in this complex and changing area of law. With experience in enforcement and prosecution proceedings for development and environmental offences, Tim also drafts and negotiates infrastructure agreements, responds to compulsory acquisitions, Land Court litigation and advises on approvals and compliance with Environmental Authorities. He works closely with his clients to understand their objectives and to guide them through the intricacies of planning and environment law to create the best result with minimal delay or obstruction.
Holly is a lawyer in the Planning + Environment group at Thynne + Macartney. She assists clients to navigate the complexities of planning and environment law at all stages of their projects. Working closely with Tim Quirk who leads the Planning + Environment group, Holly advises developers and local governments.