Abbott-Newman deal could cut approval time on key projects
A TENTATIVE deal to shave down approval times for major projects could have massive implications for Queensland, with formal support expected within weeks.
A draft memorandum of understanding is to be endorsed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Queensland Premier Campbell Newman once the premier returns from a trade mission.
So far, it has been inked by environment ministers Greg Hunt and Andrew Powell at the federal and state levels respectively.
For Queensland, it is a step towards a "one-stop shop" approach.
Once created, the state would ensure significant projects were environmentally sound by putting them through a single process which aligned with the federal regulations.
This would reduce the need for multi-billion dollar projects to jump through hoops for state approval before hopping similar hurdles at a national level.
A group of mega-mines currently under consideration for the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland may fall under aspects of the new deal, depending on how they advance.
Australian Greens Queensland Senator Larissa Waters is horrified by the plan.
The Commonwealth has a history of intervening in only the most serious cases, including its rejection of the
Traveston Crossing Dam which was led by the former Queensland Government.
"(The Federal Government) only steps in the worst of the worst cases," Ms Waters said. "Watering that down is reckless."
Mr Powell described her claim as "outrageous".
He said the standards would remain the same, with oversight bolstered through embedding Commonwealth offices inside the state's department.
The MOU does not change laws, so the Federal Government is still able to "call in" projects.
By law, the Commonwealth must also judge water impacts if a development exceeds a certain level of water use.