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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 10 Hansard (23 September) . .

Page.. 3023..


also that this amendment bill requires that the offsets policy will be reviewed every five years.

A one-stop shop has many benefits. The current environmental impact assessment regime, under which proponents have to go through both a commonwealth and ACT approval process, is duplicative, complex and resource intensive for business, government and community.

Under a one-stop shop, developers will only have one environmental approval process that covers commonwealth and ACT matters, which is delivered by the territory in consultation with business and the community. This will reduce regulatory burden and promote economic development in the ACT. There will be significant cost savings for business and the government by removing the commonwealth assessment and approval process, particularly as the commonwealth is introducing cost recovery arrangements.

Under cost recovery, fees will apply to assessments and approvals processed by the commonwealth under the EPBC Act. Estimates of cost recovery fees include a fee for a referral in the order of $9,000 and a fee for an environmental impact statement estimated in the order of $40,000 to $90,000.

As well as substantial cost savings, a one-stop shop will result in time savings, cutting between three months and two years from the approval process. In addition to the economic benefits, a one-stop shop will meet the planning requirements of the territory and maintain high environmental standards.

The bill will ensure that development proponents adequately address impacts on matters of national environmental significance, as required by a one-stop shop. These include some of our most vulnerable species and communities such as box-gum woodland, striped legless lizard and golden sun moth. The ACT has the advantage of drawing on local expert ecological advice and resources when making approval decisions, which are not necessarily available to the commonwealth under current processes.

This bill will improve transparency, community consultation and access to information by introducing requirements to publish an electronic record of all offsets in the ACT and requiring public consultation on any revised offsets policy and offset guidelines, as well as applications for an exemption from preparing an environmental impact statement.

In summary, the bill will mean that the ACT government can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the environmental assessment and approval process in the ACT for proponents, the community and the environment. Delivery of the one-stop shop also aligns with the ACT government's reform agenda to reduce red tape and streamline regulation.

The Assembly should be aware that the ACT and commonwealth governments signed a memorandum of understanding in December 2013 agreeing to have a one-stop shop


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