Major projects are a vital source of Australia’s future prosperity. They lift national income, create employment opportunities, raise productivity and generate revenue for governments. However, they can also have negative impacts on community amenity, the environment, public health and our heritage assets. Australian governments regulate major projects through development assessment and approvals processes to promote an appropriate balance between economic and other impacts on a community’s wellbeing.
In this study the Commission has been asked to review and benchmark assessment and approval processes for major projects in Australian jurisdictions. Our study has found that there is substantial scope, without relaxing the stringency of regulations, to improve their efficiency so that regulatory goals are achieved at a lower cost to both proponents and communities.
The study was undertaken by a team in the Commission’s Melbourne office, led by Phillip Chindamo. The study has benefited from discussions and submissions from many stakeholders in the government and business sectors and from diverse peak bodies and community groups. The international insights drawn from practices in Canada, the United States of America, the United Kingdom and New Zealand were informed by our conversations with regulators, proponents and experts in these countries. We are very grateful to all those who have given their time and shared their experiences and expertise with the Commission.