The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) is to lead a new online service for industry, dramatically improving environmental assessment, approvals and compliance.
The Department’s new Environment Online is expected to improve the transparency and consistency of water and environmental approvals, while reducing the time taken for major projects to navigate State and Commonwealth processes by up to 12 months.
The DWER said the Environment Online system would be built by Insight over the next three years and would be complemented by the establishment of a Biodiversity Information Office (BIO) led by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.
Minister for the Environment, Amber-Jade Sanderson said the BIO would make biodiversity data more easily available to industry and environmental assessment officers to enable better upfront decision making, reduce duplication and cost, and result in better assessment standards and processes.
“Both Environment Online and the BIO are linked under the Digital Environmental Assessment Program, a Commonwealth-State collaboration,” Ms Sanderson said.
The Minister said funding for the initiatives would allow more than 150 frontline officers recruited across five Agencies to help streamline project assessments and approvals.
“Environment Online will be a game-changer for environmentalists and industry alike, giving businesses greater clarity and certainty when making applications and improving timeframes for environmental assessments,” she said.
“At the same time, it will help ensure the State’s environmental values are more easily identified and protected,” Ms Sanderson said.