One-Stop Shop for environmental approvals
The Australian Government is committed to delivering a One-Stop Shop for environmental approvals that will accredit state planning systems under national environmental law, to create a single environmental assessment and approval process for nationally protected matters. The One-Stop Shop policy aims to simplify the approvals process for businesses, lead to swifter decisions and improve Australia's investment climate, while maintaining high environmental standards.
On 16 October 2013, the Minister for the Environment, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, announced that the Government had approved the framework for delivering the One-Stop Shop. This includes a three-stage process with each of the willing jurisdictions, comprising:
- signing a Memorandum of Understanding
- agreement on bilateral assessments and updating any existing agreement with the state
- negotiation of approval bilateral agreements within 12 months
On 14 May 2014, Minister Hunt introduced a bill into Parliament that would allow the Minister to accredit state and territory approval decisions on large coal mining and coal seam gas developments that are likely to have a significant impact on a water resource (commonly known as the ‘water trigger’).
The legislation also makes technical amendments to the EPBC Act to facilitate the One-Stop Shop policy and the operation of bilateral agreements.
The EPBC Amendment (Bilateral Agreement Implementation) Bill 2014 can be found at:
- Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Bilateral Agreement Implementation) Bill 2014
Economic benefits of the One-Stop Shop
The One-Stop Shop for environmental approvals is expected to result in regulatory savings to business of around $426 million a year, by reducing costs associated with delays to project approvals and administration.
The Department has prepared the Regulatory Cost Savings under the One-Stop Shop for Environmental Approvals to explain the method for calculating estimated cost savings for business from the One-Stop Shop. It also provides a summary of the One-Stop Shop for environmental approvals in Australia and changes to the current regulatory environment. A copy can be found at:
Click on the headings below to find out more information.
- A One-Stop Shop for environmental assessments in Western Australia - media release - 13 October 2014
- New assessment bilateral agreement in place for South Australia - media release - 30 September 2014
- Simplifying environmental assessments in Victoria - media release - 5 September 2014
- Draft ACT approval bilateral agreement released for public comment - media release - 15 August 2014
- One-Stop Shop to streamline Tasmanian environmental assessments and approvals - media release - 13 August 2014
- New assessment bilateral agreement in place with ACT - media release - 8 July 2014
- Western Australia is now one step closer to a One-Stop Shop - media release - 29 May 2014
- Major milestones reached in implementing the Coalition Government's One-Stop Shop reform - media release - 14 May 2014
- Final stage reached on federal environmental approvals in Queensland - media release - 14 May 2014
- Public comment on final stage for the One-Stop Shop in NSW - media release - 14 May 2014
- Agreement to streamline environmental assessments in the Northern Territory open for public comment - media release - 8 April 2014
- Release of national environmental standards for One-Stop Shop reforms - media release - 28 March 2014
- Agreement to streamline environmental assessments in the Australian Capital Territory open for comment - media release - 28 March 2014
- Have your say on applying national environment law in South Australia - media release - 18 February 2014
- Commonwealth and New South Wales sign One-Stop Shop Bilateral Agreement - media release - 20 December 2013
- All states and territories sign up for the one-stop shop - media release - 13 December 2013
- 'One stop shop' for environmental approvals one step closer with NSW government support - media release - 5 November 2013
- Federal and Queensland Governments sign up to a One stop shop for environmental approvals - media release - 18 October 2013
- One stop shop approved by Government - media release - 16 October 2013
Development of bilateral agreements
An assessment bilateral agreement provides for a single environmental assessment process conducted by the state. At the completion of the assessment the state provides a report to the Australian Government assessing the likely impacts of the project on matters of national environmental significance.
Following the assessment stage, the state and the Australian Government each make a decision on project approval and conditions to meet differing requirements. This may result in two approval decisions and two sets of conditions.
Under an approval bilateral agreement the state assesses the likely impacts of a project on the environment and makes a decision on approval, accounting for both state matters and matters of national environmental significance. Only one decision is made and includes conditions (if appropriate).
Assessment bilateral agreements have been agreed with Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.
Progress on bilateral agreements with each State or Territory will be published on the following pages:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia
Notices of Intent
Notices of intent to develop draft bilateral agreements have been signed with all States and Territories and are published on the individual state pages above.
The notices are also published in the government Gazette and in a daily newspaper that circulates in the state or territory.
Draft approval bilateral agreements
|State/Territory||Deadline for comment|
|Australian Capital Territory – draft bilateral agreement relating to environmental approval – Invitation to comment||CLOSED on 12 September 2014|
|Tasmania – draft bilateral agreement relating to environmental approval – Invitation to comment||CLOSED on 11 September 2014|
|New South Wales – draft bilateral agreement relating to environmental approval – Invitation to comment||CLOSED on 13 June 2014|
|Queensland – draft bilateral agreement relating to environmental approval – Invitation to comment||CLOSED on 13 June 2014|
Draft assessment bilateral agreements open for public comment
|State/Territory||Deadline for comment|
|Queensland – draft bilateral agreement relating to environmental assessment – Invitation to comment||5pm, Friday 21 November 2014|
|Victoria – draft bilateral agreement relating to environmental assessment – Invitation to comment||CLOSED on 3 October 2014|
The Australian Government has released Standards for Accreditation of Environmental Approvals under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, which articulate the environmental standards and considerations for accreditation of state and territory approval processes through bilateral agreements.
Memoranda of Understanding
Memoranda of Understanding have been agreed with all States and Territories:
- Queensland (PDF - 361.58 KB) | (DOCX - 30.19 KB) - 18 October 2013
- New South Wales (PDF - 235.25 KB) | (DOCX - 32.11 KB) - 5 November 2013
- Western Australia (PDF - 2 MB) | (DOCX - 40.75 KB) - 13 December 2013
- Victoria (PDF - 2.06 MB) | (DOC - 85 KB) - 13 December 2013
- Tasmania (PDF - 1.88 MB) | (DOC - 71.5 KB) - 13 December 2013
- South Australia (PDF - 1.98 MB) | (DOCX - 32.78 KB) - 13 December 2013
- Northern Territory (PDF - 1.9 MB) | (DOCX - 31.78 KB) - 13 December 2013
- Australian Capital Territory (PDF - 1.97 MB) | (DOCX - 37.29 KB) - 13 December 2013
At the Council of Australian Governments meeting of 13 December 2013 the Australian Government signed joint statements with the New South Wales and Queensland governments.