Reduced red tape for environmental approvals a plus for housing and construction
The prospect of streamlined approvals under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act has been welcomed by the nation’s urban development sector.
The Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) has applauded the signals sent on reduced red and green tape by Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley.
UDIA National has pressed for more efficient approvals as part of its submission to the Independent Review, as well as its Helping Australia Bounce Back plan for a post COVID-19 economic recovery.
“We now have the opportunity to fulfil one of the Act’s original objectives – a singular point of strategic assessment that accounts for national and state factors,” said UDIA National President Simon Basheer.
“There is clear value in a well-designed legislative and regulatory framework to give effect to the preservation of nationally-significant flora and fauna.
“The challenge is to conduct assessments at the right time in the development cycle and do so in a way that is streamlined, transparent and objective.”
Mr Basheer said the Government’s commitment to clearing the backlog of projects under assessment via the Act would benefit from strict guidelines, including:
- All projects that entered the assessment regime prior to July 1, 2019, be guaranteed a decision by July 1, 2020
- All projects that entered the assessment regime prior to January 1, 2020, be guaranteed a decision by October 1, 2020; and
- All projects that entered the assessment regime post January 1, 2020, be guaranteed a decision by January 1, 2021
Applying ‘deemed consent’ provisions to future project applications to maintain discipline on project assessment timeframes.
“Australia needs to cultivate a pipeline of major projects to foster jobs, wages and activity up and down supply chains and housing and construction will be central to the task,” Mr Basheer said.
“Housing and construction have a crucial role to play in sustaining Australia’s economy during the downturn and accelerating its recovery post COVID-19.
“The industry accounts for 7.5 percent of the nation’s economic output and generates more than 740,000 direct and indirect jobs.”