Developers urge states to sign on to federal plans for environmental approval

The federal government’s plan to develop a one-stop shop to streamline environmental approvals has pleased developers.  

“It is good news that (federal Environment Minister) Greg Hunt has announced a one-stop-shop approach to rationalising the complex system of environmental approvals across Australia,” said Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson. ‘’But it will need all the states to join in.’’  

The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group of developers and equity financiers.  

Johnson said developments in the past had been held up ‘’for months and even years’’ as state and federal government environmental and planning departments had separate approval processes.  

“We have had projects in Sydney that had state approval but were then ‘called in’ by the Commonwealth, effectively overriding the state approvals. Clearly, this gives no confidence to allow a project to proceed.’’  

Johnson said the Urban Taskforce urged all states and territories to sign bilateral agreements with the federal government so that environmental approvals can be streamlined.  

“We also call on (Hunt) to review the extent of the criteria used to trigger approvals. Earlier this year the Commonwealth placed an approved development in Parramatta at risk because of heritage views from old Government House being used to ‘call in’ the project.  

‘’This demonstrates that some environmental criteria can be misused to the detriment of a state-approved project.’’

 

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