Government agrees to cut red tape on big projects

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has struck an agreement with business leaders to cut regulation and speed up approvals for big projects.

Gillard approved a plan devised by The Business Council of Australia (BCA), Australian Industry Group and Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to streamline state and federal environmental approvals.

BCA president Tony Shepherd described it as “a big leap forward”, the Australian Financial Review (AFR) reported.

BHP Billiton CEO Marius Kloppers spoke out yesterday about the time taken to have major resource projects approved.

Kloppers said  approvals took 41 months for BHP’s Caval Ridge coal mine in Queensland, costing the project $200 million.

“We need to shorten the approval times to stay level with our competitors,” Kloppers said.

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