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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 431 asked in the Legislative Council on 22 August 2017 by Hon Jacqui Boydell

Minister responding: Hon S.N. Dawson
Parliament: 40 Session: 1
Answered on

DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION —ENVIRONMENTAL APPROVALS
      431. Hon JACQUI BOYDELL to the Minister for Environment:
I refer to comments made by the Minister for Agriculture and Food that the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will be a ''one‑stop shop'' to reduce red tape and support the development of northern Australia.
      (1) How much has Pardoo Station's water allocation been reduced by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation?
(2) What process has the minister put in place to streamline environmental approvals?
(3) Who has he consulted regarding streamlining environmental approvals?
(4) When will he commence the process of streamlining environmental approvals?
Hon STEPHEN DAWSON replied:
I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.
The following information has been provided by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.
(1) Please redirect this part of your question to the Minister for Water, as the appropriate minister.
      (2) The government implemented major changes on 1 July 2017 to create a more efficient and affordable public sector. Under my environment portfolio, this reform resulted in the creation of the new Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, which is an amalgamation of the previous Department of Water, Department of Environment Regulation and the Office of the Environmental Protection Authority. Combining the functions of the three departments provides greater opportunity for streamlining and simplifying regulation, which I have made a priority for this new agency, along with my colleague the Minister for Water, Hon Dave Kelly.
      (3) The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will consult widely with stakeholders and customers in September 2017 on its proposed approach to delivering regulatory best practice, including streamlined environmental approvals.
      (4) This process is now underway. The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is currently reviewing its regulation and policy framework to identify opportunities for more efficient and timely regulatory activities and processes to deliver a one‑stop shop. It is critical that this streamlining process is delivered in a way that improves the robustness of regulation alongside timeliness. Internal groups have been established to oversee key initiatives, including proposals with multiple water and environmental approvals, the northern irrigation agriculture developments, and a new online water regulation system known as Compass. The department is also finalising the establishment of a single website access point for all water and environmental applications and information requests, and is assessing all other regulatory services—native vegetation clearing and industrial regulation—for incorporation into the online Compass and portal systems.