Cut the Red Tape

30 Oct, 2009 01:00 AM
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THE State Government has announced moves to overhaul and streamline WA's cumbersome and inefficient approvals processes.

Premier Colin Barnett said a new lead agency framework and a suite of legislative changes would be introduced to help deliver more decisions, more quickly for the betterment of the State's future.

"WA is on the cusp of another period of significant economic activity and growth. The Liberal-National Government is committed to ensuring this is a sustained period of economic development over at least the next 20 years," Mr Barnett said.

"We must create and maximise the opportunities presented by attracting investment in the state and ensuring that investment provides long-term benefits for all Western Australians. We need an approvals system that welcomes investment and stimulates economic development, not stymies it.

"With strong and sustained economic growth comes schools, hospitals, the development of towns and the provision of help and support for the most vulnerable in our community.

"The Liberal-National Government has a different attitude towards projects, approvals and the state's prosperity than the previous government."

The new lead agency framework will work by determining specific government departments as the first point of call for a project.

The relevant department will then help the proponent through the approvals process throughout agencies.

The lead agency will then provide the proponent with a custom level of service depending on the size, scale and significance of the project.

For example, the State Development Department will be the lead agency on major resource projects like Gorgon and Oakajee, and the Regional Development and Lands Department will be the lead agency for developments like Ord River Stage Two.

But WAFarmers president Mike Norton is more circumspect.

"The agricultural industry has been beset by red tape for a long time," he said.

He said in the past, bureaucratic hurdles had affected areas such as land clearing and the establishment of meat processing facilities in the state.

He said the government announcement tied in with a major recommendation of the recent Beef Stocktake report, which identified a range of regulatory compliance costs across the beef industry supply chain which prevented individual businesses and industry as a whole from running as effectively as possible.

The recommendation urged the Agriculture and Food Department, in collaboration with other relevant agencies, "to target unnecessary or burdensome compliance rules and take action to minimise the current burden on the WA beef industry".

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