New analysis has revealed that since being elected the Liberal National Government is responsible for a 510% increase in the time taken to make environmental approval decisions.
Scott Morrison’s credibility on jobs and investment in mining and infrastructure is in tatters following this revelation.
Since 2014, job and investment delays resulting from federal environment decisions have exploded from 19 days, to a massive 116 days, almost 4 months, over the statutory timeframes on average in 2018-19. That’s a 510% increase in the average delay.
During this time the Government has considered tens of billions of dollars’ worth of projects.
Scott Morrison claims to be a JobMaker, but he’s a JobDelayer.
He’s a JobDelayer because an astonishing 95% of all Morrison Government key decisions[i] on major projects were late in 2018-19.
Back in 2014, 60% of key decisions were made on time. By 2018-19, after years of Liberal and National cuts and mismanagement, only a paltry 5% of key decisions were made on time.
This Government has a seven-year-long record of tying up jobs and development in Liberal Party blue-tape -- processes that have become extremely slow and inaccurate because of Liberal National cuts and mismanagement.
The department charged with assessing major projects under the federal environment laws has had its funding cut by 40%, smashing its capacity to make good decisions and leading to an explosion in delays.
Australia’s major project environmental approval laws haven’t changed substantially since the Liberals and Nationals were elected in 2013, but federal timeframes and delays have exploded, while the number of decisions, the actual workload, has gone backwards.
Scott Morrison and the Liberal National Government’s cuts and mismanagement have led to job and investment delays.
When they finally get around to making decisions, 79% of approval decisions have been found to contain error or not comply with the appropriate standards. Scott Morrison’s Government gets things wrong 79% of the time, on major approvals.
Instead of taking responsibility for the 510% increase in average approval delays, and after seven years of delays, Scott Morrison wants to blame it all on the law.
But the law hasn’t become stricter, his Government’s woeful performance is the problem.
All the marketing slogans in the world won’t hide the fact that Scott Morrison is a JobDelayer.
[i] Key decisions are decisions on referrals, assessment method, and approval.
The ANAO report states (at paragraph 1.10):
For the three key decisions (referral, assessment method and approval decisions), the department made only five per cent within statutory timeframes in 2018–19 (20 out of 368 decisions) (p. 16)
at para 3.68:
This decrease was most pronounced from 2014–15 to 2018–19, with the proportion of referral, assessment method and approval decisions made within statutory timeframes decreasing from 60 per cent in 2014–15 to five per cent in 2018–19. The average time taken for approval decisions increased from 19 days over the statutory timeframe in 2014–15 to 116 days over the statutory timeframe in 2018–19.
paragraph 4.70 states:
Reporting on compliance with statutory decision-making timeframes is not consistent with the EPBC Act. The Act does not require assessment method decisions to be made for actions covered by bilateral agreements — however, these have been included in calculations as decisions made on time. This has resulted in inaccurate reporting, with the department reporting internally that it made 12 per cent of referral, assessment method and approval decisions on time in 2018–19, when the actual figure was five per cent.