Tuesday, 6 October 2020
Environment and Communications References Committee; Reference
That the following matter be referred to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report by the second sitting Tuesday of 2021:
The Government's proposed reduction in the assessment and decision time frames for 15 major projects under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), including:
(a) the process by which the need for a major projects list was decided upon;
(b) the process for determining the criteria for the major projects list and by which the 15 major projects were identified;
(c) any proposed or realised actions by the Government for the reduction in assessment and decision time frame, including the impact of that reduction on the integrity of the assessment process, the impact on protection of the environment, biodiversity and heritage values and on expected assessment and the impact on decision time frames for other projects undergoing EPBC Act assessment;
(d) any interactions of the major projects process with the 10-year review of the EPBC Act and other proposed reforms to the EPBC Act already identified by the Government;
(e) potential conflicts of interest that may have arisen through the major projects process; and
(f) any other related matters.
The process for identifying and endorsing the 15 major projects involved cabinet and national cabinet consideration. As such, prior deliberations on the list may be subject to cabinet confidentiality arrangements. These projects are worth more than $72 billion and they are expected to support over 66,000 jobs. Through the reduction of assessment and approval time frames without reducing environment protections, these major projects will be shovel-ready earlier, helping to create thousands of new jobs and supporting the economy through the COVID-19 crisis.