The Australian Government is continuing its pledge to dissolve approval processes it deems unnecessary or duplicative, this week announcing a new ‘one-stop-shop’ environmental process for offshore petroleum and greenhouse gas storage activities.

There is a long list of issues from conservationists over the potential for damage from the huge floating gas refineries covered by the new process.

Two draft reports will soon be up for public consultation over just which changes and reductions should be made to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006.

Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane said under the current system, businesses were being burdened by requirements for environmental checks and other accountability measures.

“These changes will simplify the regulatory process by removing the need for petroleum exploration, production and greenhouse gas storage activities to be assessed under two acts, which ultimately have the same objective of environmental protection,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Removing duplication in the environmental assessment process will deliver faster approvals and mean less red tape for business, boosting Australian industry,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“We will not allow environmental objectives to be compromised, and this process will ensure that environmental assessment of petroleum activities is carried out at the highest possible standard, but will cut duplication and facilitate swift decisions,” Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt said.

Information sessions with key stakeholders will take place in Perth, Melbourne and Canberra early in the consultation period.

The resulting draft of amendments to current environment regulations will then be made available for public comment, sometime in December this year.

The key documents are available here.