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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Queensland Minister for Environment
The Hon Desley Boyle MP
9 September 2004
The Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, and Queensland Minister for Environment, Desley Boyle today announced an agreement to simplify environmental impact assessments in Queensland.
Senator Campbell and Ms Boyle hailed the agreement as good news for both developers and the environment.
"It strengthens our commitment to work together to better protect the environment, while reducing unnecessary duplication," Senator Campbell said.
"It will significantly simplify the process while at the same time providing the high standard of environmental protection required by both sets of laws."
Ms Boyle said this agreement would bring together the two processes in a coordinated fashion to reduce confusion, processing time, and cost.
"This is an immensely positive step aimed at streamlining our processes to protect the environment, and I congratulate the Federal Government for their agreement," Ms Boyle said.
"It makes sense for the environment, the development community, the broader community, and our two levels of Government, and that is why we have been keen to pursue it.
The agreement under the Australian Government's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), means that proponents of developments only have to go through the state's process to meet both governments' requirements.
Other stakeholders, including the local community, also need to deal with only one process.
The Ministers said the agreement provided certainty to all those involved in assessment of environmental impact of projects being undertaken in Queensland.
Under the bilateral agreement, the Australian Government has accredited Queensland assessment processes for environmental impact statements prepared under the Integrated Planning Act, the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act and the Environmental Protection Act.
"This agreement just makes good sense," Ms Boyle said.
More referrals come from Queensland than from any other state or territory. During the last year more than 50 Queensland proposals were considered under the EPBC Act, 13 of which required assessment and approval.
Similar agreements have already streamlined the assessment process in Tasmania, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.