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Major project development assessment processes

Research report

This study has concluded. The final report was sent to Government on 6 December 2013 and released on 10 December 2013.

The Australian Government requested that the Productivity Commission undertake a study to benchmark Australia's major project development assessment processes against international best practice.

The study considered the extent to which major project development assessment processes across all levels of government affect the costs incurred by business, deliver good regulatory outcomes for the public and provide transparency and certainty to promote business investment.

Specifically, the Commission was asked to:

  • examine the regulatory objectives and key features of Australia's major project development assessment processes at all levels of government, including the interactions between levels of government, the role of facilitation, the capacities and resources of the institutions involved and significant variations between jurisdictions
  • examine the regulatory objectives and key features of comparable international systems with respect to major project development assessment processes
  • identify critical elements of development assessment processes and compare these to assess the extent to which different decision-making approaches in Australian jurisdictions and alternative investment destinations overseas have a material impact on costs, timeliness, transparency, certainty and regulatory outcomes
  • examine the strategic planning context for major project approvals in Australia and in comparable international systems
  • identify best practice and against this benchmark evaluate jurisdictional approaches, such as one-stop shops and statutory timeframes, to make recommendations to improve Australia's processes, both within and between jurisdictions, by reducing duplication, removing unnecessary complexity and regulation, and eliminating unnecessary costs or unnecessarily lengthy timeframes for approvals processes
  • assess mechanisms for 'scaling' regulatory requirements relative to project size and the expected benefits against the potential environmental, social, economic and other impacts
  • compare the efficiency and effectiveness with which Australian approvals processes achieve the protection of social, economic, heritage, cultural and environmental assets compared with comparable international systems.

The Commission consulted with industry, non-government stakeholders and governments in conducting the study.

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Media release: Productivity Commission to benchmark Australia's major project development assessment processes

Please note: The draft report and issues paper are for research purposes only. For final outcomes of this inquiry refer to the inquiry report.

Issues paper Draft report