The Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) has developed this project to streamline environmental regulatory requirements and still maintain environmental standards.
Wildlife Queensland readily acknowledges that environmental regulation has increased significantly since the Environmental Protection Act was enacted in 1994. Unfortunately the increase in regulation has resulted in a patchwork regulatory system that is complex and difficult for everyone.
The complex regulatory system does not only impact on industry, it is difficult for government to administer and there is no guarantee the environment is protected. An interview on Radio 612 on 24 May about the recent Coal Seam Gas (CSG) leak near Dalby is clear evidence of the current state of confusion. A spokesperson for Arrow Energy in discussing the matter stated that leaks occur during CSG operations and there is a certain level when notification of an incident is required. The spokesperson quickly added that a meeting was needed with the regulators to ensure their interpretation of the regulations were appropriate. In the interim the environment suffers.
Wildlife Queensland is not opposed to streamlining regulation to remove information requirements that are unclear, inconsistent and costly provided appropriate and acceptable environmental standards are maintained for the community.
The intent of the GreenTape Reduction project is to provide a streamlined regulatory process for environmental approvals resulting in significant benefits to industry, government and the community. Wildlife Queensland trusts that the environment is also an intended beneficiary. The project comprises four broad initiatives:
- Developing a licensing model that is proportionate to the risk of the activity
- Providing flexible operational approvals for environmentally relevant activities
- Streaming the processes for resources approvals
- Improving the quality of information
It is emphasised that environmental standards will not be sacrificed.
The discussion paper and regulatory assessment statement is available for perusal. DERM did consult widely in preparing the discussion paper that is open for submissions until 1 July 2011. Wildlife Queensland encourages you to have your say.
Will DERM achieve their objectives and streamline the regulatory process without compromising environmental standards? Wildlife Queensland lives in hope but only time will tell.
For more information on Wildlife Queensland's activities, call us on +61 7 3221 0194 or send us an email.