Federal cash to fast track projects

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Federal Government has committed a further $1 billion to priority projects and an additional $500 million for road safety works.

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A major rethink of the current project approval process will also soon be undertaken. 

"To build the pipeline of future projects, we are determined to get out of the way and speed up progress by improving approvals processes," Prime Minister Scott Morrison says.

"One area in which the Commonwealth has a direct regulatory role for relevant projects is through approvals under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

"According to departmental estimates, delays associated with these approvals alone cost industry over $300 million just in 2019. That’s not good enough.

"The Commonwealth has already taken steps to cut project approval times under the EPBC Act. At the end of 2019, approval decisions took 90 days on average. Today they take 40. That is what we've achieved this year in 2020.

"Our goal is to cut these times by a further 25 percent by the end of this year – to 30 days for major projects.

"Ultimately, our objective is the streamlining of Commonwealth and state processes to a point of ‘single touch approvals’.

"The National Cabinet has had already - early discussions on how we can achieve this objective, and there is already, I can assure you, a high level of engagement and agreement.

"The National Cabinet will come back to this issue very shortly, informed by the current review of the EPBC Act being conducted by Graeme Samuel.

"Of course, focusing on Commonwealth approvals won’t do much to deliver projects faster if we don’t also address state processes.

"Now when it comes to major projects, focusing on Commonwealth approvals won't do much to deliver projects faster if we don't address the state approval processes.

"Today I announce a priority list of 15 major projects that are on the fast-track for approval under a bilateral model between the Commonwealth, states and territories.

"Joint assessment teams will work on accelerating these projects worth more than $72 billion in public and private investment. Projects that will support over 66,000 direct and indirect jobs.

"These jobs will be brought to market earlier by targeting a 50 per cent reduction in Commonwealth assessment and approval times for major projects, from an average of 3.5 years to 21 months."

This priority list includes:

  • Inland Rail from Melbourne to Brisbane;
  • Marinus Link between Tasmania and Victoria;
  • Olympic Dam extension in South Australia;
  • Emergency town water projects in New South Wales;
  • Road, rail and iron ore projects in Western Australia.

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