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Australian Government Solicitor

 

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One-Stop Shop to improve approval process

During the year, AGS advised the Department of the Environment on the One-Stop Shop for environmental approvals.

This initiative is an important government priority in the Environment portfolio. It 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 One-Stop Shop will accredit State and Territory planning systems under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) to create a single environmental assessment and approval process for nationally protected matters. The Commonwealth government already has bilateral agreements for environmental assessment in place with States and Territories. The One-Stop Shop will involve bilateral agreements for environment approvals, meaning that there is a single approval decision (by the State or Territory) rather than the additional layer of Commonwealth approval.

Significant aspects of AGS’s work included:

  • assisting with development of the EPBC Amendment (Bilateral Agreement Implementation) Bill 2014, which would amend the EPBC Act to support the implementation of the One Stop Shop through bilateral agreements
  • advising on aspects of the draft bilateral agreements, and the accreditation of State and Territory planning systems under the EPBC Act
  • advising on the Department’s draft Conditions Policy to improve the efficiency of existing bilateral agreements for environmental assessment.

This work was performed by Chief General Counsel Guy Aitken, Deputy General Counsel Jenny Burnett, Senior General Counsel Greg Prutej, Leah Edwards and Kathryn Graham, Counsel Helen Chisholm, Donna Allen, Kim Pham and Lisa Redman.

Work on the One-Stop Shop is continuing.

This is an extract from the 2014–15 AGS annual report