- Streamlining environmental assessment for major industry projects
- Initiatives are designed to slash assessment timeframes for major projects by up to 12 months, reducing time and cost for industry and the Government and delivering better environmental outcomes
The McGowan Government is introducing measures to streamline environmental assessment and approval processes in Western Australia to minimise delays and to assist in the State's post pandemic recovery.
These initiatives will help accelerate the delivery of more than $100 billion worth of major projects in the development pipeline and the jobs that come with them. They will also ensure projects are delivered in a responsible way and safeguard the protection of WA's natural environment.
The commitment includes an additional $12.4 million towards a total of $28 million for the Environment Online initiative led by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER).
Environment Online is a customer-focused, digital one-stop shop for environmental assessment, approvals and compliance for industry and developers in WA. It will improve the transparency and consistency of environmental approvals, and reduce the time taken for major projects to navigate joint State and Commonwealth approvals processes by 6-12 months.
Project delays can cost proponents tens of millions of dollars per year. Reducing assessment times can save industry-led projects up to $72 million per year and up to $100 million per year for State Government infrastructure projects.
The Environmental Online initiative will be complemented by the establishment of a Biodiversity Information Office (BIO) led by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA). The McGowan Government's $7.7 million funding commitment towards BIO, combined with a $1.5 million commitment from the Commonwealth, will provide a cost-effective system to capture, store, curate, publish and analyse biodiversity data throughout WA.
Making this data available to industry and environmental assessment officers will facilitate better up-front decision making, reduce duplication and cost, and result in better assessment standards and processes.
Both Environment Online and BIO are linked under the DEAP (Digital Environmental Assessment Program), which is a Commonwealth-State collaboration project.
As part of a suite of other measures to reduce assessment timeframes, WA continues to work with the Commonwealth to progress bilateral approval agreements.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"Now is the perfect time to give assurances to business and industry that Western Australia remains open for business, despite the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"My Government is focused on making it easier to navigate the correct and proper environmental approvals processes, while creating jobs and beginning the process of the economic recovery.
"These measures will ensure fewer and shorter delays to developers and industry, creating clarity and a streamlined process that will stimulate the WA economy and create jobs.
"These outcomes will help to deliver more than $100 billion worth of projects in the pipeline in WA, as well as help protect the environment."
Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:
"The McGowan Government is committed to simplifying complex government processes without compromising on environmental rigour.
"These initiatives are a win-win for project proponents, regulators and, most importantly, the environment. Streamlining these processes provides greater certainty, greater clarity and a greater focus on meaningful environmental safeguards and outcomes.
"Environment Online will provide consistency in the way the environment is managed, delivering clear decisions that reflect the important environmental values of the State.
"This online platform will bring together the State's key environmental priorities and the assurance from proponents that they have had due consideration for these shared priorities.
"This level of strategic oversight delivers a greater level of transparency and improves the State's awareness of where the greatest environmental values are in Western Australia."
Premier's office - 6552 5000
Environment Minister's office - 6552 5800