They say this will speed assessment of development agreements without detracting from environmental standards. This will require amendment to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act introduced by the Howard Government to protect threatened species and endangered eco-systems.
Environmentalists and rural groups are sceptical. They argue that continuing Federal Government oversight is essential to temper potential excesses of a pro-development State Government.
Professor Ian Lowe, President of the Australian Conservation Foundation, says Australia’s existing environmental standards are already too weak, pointing to bio-diversity loss, pressure on Queensland’s coastal zone and other issues as evidence.
The Foundation is closely watching ‘green tape’ developments.