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'One-stop-shop' petroleum plan released for public comment

26 November, 2013

The Australian government has made significant progress on establishing a 'one-stop-shop' environmental approval process for offshore petroleum and greenhouse gas storage activities with the release of two draft reports for public comment on Friday (22 November).

The reports are a requirement of the strategic assessment process under national environmental law.

Public comments on the reports will help inform the Minister for the Environment whether to approve the proposed new arrangements.

The environmental impacts of offshore petroleum activities are currently regulated under both the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act) and the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006.

Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane said the current system often resulted in unnecessary duplication and was a burden on business.

"These changes will simplify the regulatory process by removing the need for petroleum exploration, production and greenhouse gas storage activities to be assessed under two acts, which ultimately have the same objective of environmental protection," he said.

"Removing duplication in the environmental assessment process will deliver faster approvals and mean less red tape for business, boosting Australian industry."

Minister for the Environment, the Hon Greg Hunt MP added: "We will not allow environmental objectives to be compromised, and this process will ensure that environmental assessment of petroleum activities is carried out at the highest possible standard, but will cut duplication and facilitate swift decisions."

Information sessions with key stakeholders will take place in Perth, Melbourne and Canberra early in the consultation period. An exposure draft of amendments to the environment regulations will also be made available for public comment in early December 2013.

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