The Queensland Government has announced plans to significantly cut the state’s green tape, saying that the surrounding bureaucracy has ‘suffocated small business and cost taxpayers millions of dollars.”


“After consulting with industry in the lead up to and after the March 2012 election, it is evident that businesses need certainty to invest and flexibility to allow for growth. The amendments I have introduced this week will deliver just that,” State Minister for Environment Andrew Powell said.


“The Newman government has a mandate to cut regulation and red tape by 20 per cent, and the changes I’m announcing today will go a long way towards that.”


The State Government has proposed a move away from the ‘one size fits all’ environmental approval system.


“These changes to legislation will offer three ways to apply for approval of environmentally relevant activities (ERAs) – including an automatic approval process - depending on the size and environmental risk posed by business activities,” Mr Powell said.


“The Bill will cut 90 pages from reduction in the Environmental Protection Act, replacing duplicated provisions with a single clear process.”


Despite the cuts, Mr Powell stressed his government remains committed to pursuing high standards of environmental protection.


“Let me be clear, this is in no way a weakening of environmental protection laws or environmental conditions. Rather, this Bill is aimed at streamlining administrative process without reducing or removing any environmental standards that businesses are required to meet,” Mr Powell said.


The Queensland Greens have hit out at the move, saying it sends the wrong message to the state’s business and could undermine environmental protection.


“The Greens support streamlining bureaucratic duplication and reducing time frames for compliance. However, if automatic application processes mean turning a blind eye to rigorous assessment of mining and gas approvals and the effect of other industries on the environment, the Minister's proposals are irresponsible,” Greens Spokesman Dr Jim McDonald said.