INDUSTRY groups have welcomed the Federal Coalition’s promise to cut green and red tape for Australian businesses by $1 billion a year.
The Coalition reported that its policy to boost productivity and reduce regulation would lower business costs, generate more jobs and strengthen the economy; removal of the carbon and mining taxes and the cutting of environmental regulation would be central to the success of the policy.
“For too long, the red and green tape burden on Australian businesses has been increasing,” Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said in a statement.
“Under the Rudd-Gillard Government, 21,000 additional regulations have been added despite having promised to cap the growth of regulation with a ‘one-in, one-out’ policy.
“Labor has paid too little regard to the systemic costs of regulation to the economy and to our ongoing national prosperity.”
Mr Abbott said the coalition’s proposal included a single process for environmental approvals, eliminating Commonwealth-level approvals and leaving nearly all environmental regulation to individual states.
“Business should not have to run the gauntlet twice,” he said. “Once you have demonstrated to one set of officials that you are going to meet high environmental standards that should be enough.”
NSW Minerals Council chief executive Stephen Galilee welcomed the policy move, which he said could establish “a more efficient approval processes for important projects, including vital mining projects that bring jobs, investment and economic strength to NSW”.
“It is encouraging, therefore, that the Federal Coalition has committed to establishing a one-stop-shop for environmental approvals and undertaking an audit of all environmental legislation and regulation at state and federal levels,” Mr Galilee said.
“We are also encouraged by plans to create a dedicated unit within each department and agency at federal level with the aim of cutting red and green tape.”
Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) chief executive Simon Bennison said the association had been advocating for a more streamlined and efficient approvals system at the federal level, and was pleased with the Coalition’s response.
“AMEC is pleased to hear the Coalition is committed to reducing the regulatory burden that is currently creating unnecessary delays and increasing costs for business,” he said. “Industry must regain some semblance of international competitiveness before it is too late.”
According to the Coalition, The Productivity Commission has estimated that unnecessary red tape reduction could generate as much as $12 billion in extra GDP each year.