Gas industry and Senate butt heads over 'green tape'

A REPORT from the gas exploration and production industry has warned that environmental regulation was stifling investment in large projects, despite recent findings of a Senate inquiry revealing business interests could not support such claims.

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association's "Cutting Green Tape" report, released on Monday, cited duplicative and inefficient regulation adding up to two-year delays to major oil and gas projects in Australia.

While the report cited several case studies of such delays being caused by overlapping and excessive state and federal environmental laws, it failed to identify specifically what regulations did overlap and how such laws were delaying major processes.

The majority of the case studies in the report cited state and federal environmental agencies demanding companies provide similar or the same information about the effects of such proposals.

But the report, which advocates for more efficient laws and the use of bilateral agreements - where only the state governments assess the environmental effects of projects - contradicted recent findings from a Senate inquiry.

That inquiry, into a Greens bill to retain federal environmental approval powers, took evidence from the Minerals Council of Australia and Business Council of Australia that environmental laws were delaying major projects.

But neither industry lobby group could provide specific details of what was causing delays, and the Federal Environment Department also said no one had provided any specific evidence that the Commonwealth laws were duplicative or causing such delays.

The Senate inquiry also found many delays were caused at the state government level, rather than at the federal level.