‘Green autonomy’ for states welcomed

North Queensland Register (Townsville), Townsville QLD
17 May 2012

THE Federal Opposition’s pledge last week to allow the states to act as a one-stop-shop for environmental approvals is a step in the right direction, according to John Shipp, director of the ANDEV/IPA North Australia Project.

Mr Shipp welcomed Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s focus on cutting green tape in his Budget-in-Reply speech and said it is great to see a national figure finally taking the issue of green tape seriously.

Mr Abbott outlined a plan to give state and territory governments the authority to grant environmental approvals on behalf of the federal government. He described the new state authorities vested with federal approval powers as “one-stop-shops”.

“The North Australia Project has been calling for a one-stop-shop for environmental approvals for at least 18 months now,” Mr Shipp said.

He used the increasing attention paid to one-stop-shop environmental authorities to renew calls for a special economic zone in northern Australia.

“To really do away with the problem of green tape, Mr Abbott should consider implementing a special economic zone across north Australia, including a single one-stop-shop with authority to grant approvals on behalf of all levels of government across all states and territories.

“Overseas, special economic zones have been an extremely effective means of cutting green tape and streamlining regulation.

“Rationalising environmental regulation between the three levels of government is a vital economic reform for ensuring Australia’s continued prosperity into the future.”