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Review to streamline approvals processes

Western Australian Environment Minister, David Templeman and Environmental Protection Authority chairman Dr Paul Vogel have announced a wide-ranging review to streamline the Western Australia’s environmental approvals processes.Mr Templeman said WA’s unprecedented resources boom provided an opportunity to reassess the effectiveness and efficiency of the State’s environmental impact assessment processes.“Our system is widely regarded as among the best and most progressive in the nation, but that doesn’t mean we should rest on our laurels,” he said.“This boom means our economy and our population are burgeoning and there is frenetic activity in the mining and oil and gas industries that will only increase in the short term.“There is also growing complexity in the scope, range and technical aspects of development projects, which can further prolong the approvals process,” Mr Templeman said.“To capitalise on the resources boom and to ensure we keep delivering environmental and social dividends for all Western Australians, we need to take the environmental approvals process to a new level.”The review of the environmental approvals process will identify ways to streamline the process and remove duplication, along with opportunities to better integrate environmental approvals with other approval processes. The review will also identify innovations to better link developments with regional and sustainable environmental objectives.“We need to look at how we can improve the process to ensure better results for the environment, industry, the economy and the community as a whole,” Mr Templeman said.Mr Templeman said the core objectives of the State’s environmental watchdog would not be compromised. “This is not about cutting corners, it’s about improving the way we operate,” he said. “We want to keep striking the fine balance between protecting our environment and promoting sustainable industry.”

9 Sunday March 2008  5:33:0

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