Government controlled committee slams maladministration of environmental decisions

By Terri Butler MP and Julian Hill MP

The powerful Joint Statutory Committee on Public Accounts and Audit has said it is “unacceptable” that an audit found multiple deficiencies in the Morrison Government’s environmental decision-making.

“This Government controlled Committee has unanimously called on the Morrison Government to fix their numerous failures and deficiencies, including information technology, record-keeping, managing compliance risk, measuring performance, quality assurance, and regulatory efficiency,” Committee Deputy Chair Julian Hill said.
“The Auditor’s report exposed vast shortcomings in the Morrison Government’s environmental decision-making, harming jobs, investment, and environmental protection,” he said.
“The Auditor’s report had found that 79 per cent of approvals were non-compliant or contained errors, there was a 510 per cent blow out in jobs delays, and most key decisions were being made outside of statutory time frames.
“All of these shortcomings add to cost, delays and uncertainty for new jobs-creating projects,” Shadow Environment Minister Terri Butler said.
“In addition, poor decision-making can lead to an increased risk of legal challenge.
“And without good environmental decision-making Australia’s precious natural environment is put at risk.
“It’s no surprise environmental decision making has never been worse after the Liberal National Government cut 40 per cent of funding to the environment department,” she said.
The Committee has recommended that the Auditor-General decide it will undertake a follow-up audit in 2023. This puts the government on notice that they will actually need to deliver on their promise to act on the Auditor’s findings.