Page 970 - Week 03 - Thursday, 10 April 2014

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MR BARR: Happy to do that, Madam Speaker.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Lawder.

MS LAWDER: Minister, are the upgrades to these systems covered under the current budget?

MR BARR: Yes, there is an IT budget for the ACT government that is allocated across directorates. A large proportion of that, though, is of course retained centrally within the Shared Services ICT area.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Lawder.

MS LAWDER: Minister, were any health department systems dependent upon the use of Windows XP?

MR BARR: I have never held the health portfolio so I am not intimately across the detail of Health Directorate systems. I will seek some advice and come back to the member.

Environment—bilateral agreement

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development. Minister, there was recently a joint announcement from the Chief Minister and the federal environment minister about streamlining environmental assessments in the ACT. Can you please tell the Assembly more about this?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Gentleman for his question. On 28 March the Chief Minister and the commonwealth Minister for the Environment, Mr Hunt, jointly made an announcement about the establishment of a draft assessment bilateral agreement between the ACT and the commonwealth.

Bilateral agreements are made under the commonwealth EPBC Act, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, and are agreements between two levels of government over the processes for environmental approval. Consistent with the COAG 2012 agreement, the objective of a bilateral agreement is to minimise unnecessary costs to business by removing duplication and double handling of assessment and approval processes. They allow the commonwealth to accredit state or territory assessment and approval processes, though the commonwealth retains the power to approve or refuse actions or to attach conditions.

The government here in the ACT is committed to removing current levels of duplication in environmental regulation. The key feature to achieve this is through the negotiation of both an assessment and an approvals bilateral agreement. The two types of bilateral must both satisfy a number of objectives. They must protect the environment, promote conservation, promote the ecologically sustainable use of resources and provide for an efficient, timely and effective process for environmental assessments.

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