- State Government to support 20 local governments to reduce approval timeframes and costs for small business
- State laws to be amended to further streamline mining and tourism approvals
- Environment reporting to be streamlined to reduce duplication, while improving transparency
- Online 'one stop shop' for approvals commencing January 1, 2021
The McGowan Government has turbocharged its Streamline WA regulatory reforms to aid economic recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The reforms build on the sweeping changes to planning and environmental protection laws that recently passed State Parliament.
The Government will spend $2.25 million over the next two years to expand the Small Business Friendly Approvals Project to an additional 20 local governments.
This follows successful pilot programs with the Cities of Canning and Stirling in 2019 undertaken by the Small Business Development Corporation.
The pilots delivered 61 recommendations to reduce approval timeframes, improve services and reduce costs for small businesses, making it easier for new businesses to open or existing businesses seeking to expand.
In addition, legislation will be introduced to amend four laws to simplify approval decisions for mining, tourism and other developments.
Approvals processes will be improved across the Swan Canning Riverpark. Duplication will be removed from licencing and permit approval procedures and mapping processes will be streamlined to provide clarity and certainty for tourism operators.
A single approval instrument will be introduced to approve mining activities across multiple tenements. A new process for low impact exploration and prospecting activities will allow for automated approvals, subject to acceptance of standardised conditions.
In response to industry feedback, duplication in environment reporting will be removed for mining projects, with one annual environment report required instead of the current requirement of up to three reports under three separate Acts.
Reporting frequency will be also reduced to biennial after three years for projects with satisfactory reporting. Reports will be published online to improve transparency and increase public confidence.
Key approvals agencies will roll into an online 'one-stop shop' for approvals through the wa.gov.au website from January 1, 2021 with more to follow from March 1, 2021.
The site will provide plain language guidance material for businesses and is user tested to ensure they are easy to follow.
Agencies will also be required to publish online performance data on approvals to ensure acceptable timelines are being met and to set targets for improvement where necessary.
Comments attributed to Treasurer Ben Wyatt:
"It is critical to Western Australia's economic recovery that we give businesses every encouragement to grow and create jobs, and the Government will play its part by simplifying rules and regulations to get faster decisions.
"We want investment and we want businesses to grow, but we also expect high standards to ensure the environment and other interests are protected.
"The Government has listened to the many organisations and individuals who have made submissions since Streamline WA was launched in December 2018.
"I want to acknowledge the guidance and support of the Streamline WA steering committee, Directors General David Smith and Mike Rowe, City of Armadale CEO Joanne Abbiss, CCIWA Chief Executive Chris Rodwell and South 32 Chief Technology Officer Vanessa Torres.
"The job is not done. We are committed to continuously taking feedback and improving our regulatory system so it is efficient for business and maintains a high level of community confidence."
Comments attributed to Small Business Minister Paul Papalia:
"I am delighted by the results of the local government pilot project, and acknowledge the considerable work undertaken by the Small Business Development Corporation and the Canning and Stirling Councils.
"We are now in a position to extend the Small Business Friendly Approvals Project with the aim of bringing significant benefits to small business in other parts of the State, as we emerge from the challenges presented by COVID-19.
"Efficient and effective engagement with local governments is pivotal to the success of small business enterprises. The roll out of the Small Business Friendly Approvals Project will enable more small businesses to directly benefit from local government improvements and efficiencies."
Comments attributed to Local Government Minister David Templeman:
"These reforms will help local governments cut red tape, improve the approvals process and grow economies in their area.
"Feedback from the sector has been very positive about the pilot programs in Stirling and Canning and I know that many other local governments are keen to sign up."
Treasurer's office - 6552 5900
Small Business Minister's office - 6552 5600
Local Government Minister's office - 6552 5400