The Federal Government has requested that the Productivity Commission conduct a study to benchmark the country's major project development process against international best practice.


The study will consider a number of key aspects of the impacts of regulation on the development of major projects, including 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 has been 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.


Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury said the study was designed to ensure that excessive regulatory burdens can be identified and removed.


"We want to ensure there are no unnecessary delays or impediments to bringing projects on line that will create new jobs and boost Australia's productivity," Mr Bradbury said.


The Productivity Commission will hold public hearings and release a draft report for public comment, before delivering a final report to the Government in 12 months. 


The study's terms of reference can be found here