The prime minister, Scott Morrison, has told the Business Council of Australia that he wants to ‘overhaul’ environmental approvals for major projects as part of an attempt to ‘further streamline’ the industrial relations system.
History has repeatedly shown that any deregulation government approvals is bad for workers and bad for the environment.
Mr Morrison says the federal government wants to “get major projects off the ground sooner” by reducing the length of time it takes for businesses to navigate environmental approvals.
This is part of an ongoing campaign by his government to cut what they call ‘green tape’.
Major environmental projects always bring substantial ecological or climate costs. Over years Australian and state and territory governments have established approvals processes that seek to find the right balance between approving large projects and protecting the environment.
While we have never had a perfect national approvals system, it is essential we do not lose the processes currently in place.
‘Cutting Green Tape’ is code for ‘let business do what it wants’. In the real world, it will mean large resource companies being given the green light to cut corners and get their projects waved through by government.
This is not an agenda that is acceptable to the majority of the Australian people.