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:

  1. signing a Memorandum of Understanding
  2. agreement on bilateral assessments and updating any existing agreement with the state
  3. negotiation of approval bilateral agreements within 12 months

Legislative amendments

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:

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Bilateral agreements

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 and the Australian Capital Territory.

Progress on bilateral agreements with each State or Territory will be published on the following pages:

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 assessment bilateral agreements open for public comment

State/Territory Deadline for comment
Tasmania – draft bilateral agreement relating to environmental assessment – Invitation to comment 5pm, Friday 15 August 2014
Western Australia – draft bilateral agreement relating to environmental assessment – Invitation to comment CLOSED on 27 June 2014

Draft approval bilateral agreements

State/Territory Deadline for comment
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

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Standards for Accreditation

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 and joint statements

Memoranda of Understanding

Memoranda of Understanding have been agreed with all States and Territories:

Joint Statements

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.