Changes see businesses self-regulate environmental impracts

LOCAL governments will foot the bill as almost 9500 small businesses in Queensland will be exempted from paying a total of $6.2 million a year in environmental licensing fees.

Twenty environmentally relevant activities will be deleted on March 31 from the list of businesses required to hold licences.

About 5000 of those are motor vehicle related businesses paying about $1500 a year in annual fees.

Other businesses to save on paperwork and fees include commercial operators who use abrasive blasting to clean surfaces, welders and steel workers, printers, powder coating businesses, concrete batching plants, cabinet makers and joiners, and drum and containers reconditioners.

Those businesses will now self-regulate their environmental impacts

"We're very aware of what those impacts are now; they're very low compared to say a coal mine," Environment Minister Andrew Powell said on Thursday.

A Local Government Association Queensland spokesman said the organisation was investigating further the suggested $6.2 million loss from council coffers.

But he said LGAQ had been working with the government on the green tape reduction taskforce and realised the value in ensuring businesses were not "tied up with unnecessary regulation".

Mr Powell said state and local government licensed about 13,000 businesses, with the move set to reduce work for environmental officers to about 4000 licences and remove time-consuming paperwork for small businesses.

He said the government was also halving the annual fee from March 31 for small sewerage treatment plants which would benefit B&Bs, small hotels and caravan parks off the sewerage grid.

Mr Powell said there was also a new regulatory strategy to reduce green tape and speed up approvals or refusals.

He said this meant more officers on the ground monitoring compliance proactively.

Businesses must still meet requirements under the Environmental Protection Act.

Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters said this spelled a weakening of environmental laws that protect against pollution.

Ms Waters, who was an environmental lawyer before entering the senate, said this was another instalment in the Queensland's "long list of winding back or ripping up all environmental protections in Queensland".

"They say there's going to be some new program of inspections but they just sacked 220 from their environment department so who are the people to do the inspections?" she questioned.

Motor Traders Association Queensland public affairs manager Dani Fioretti said the industry welcomed the change and believed the government "struck the right balance".

She said businesses would no longer have a drawn-out process to obtain environmental approvals but could still be prosecuted if they harmed the environment.



That council issues that split Gympie over 25 years

premium_icon That council issues that split Gympie over 25 years

We look back at the region's five biggest controversies.

Gympie region quarry will hurt property values and lifestyle

premium_icon Gympie region quarry will hurt property values and lifestyle

Council puts company ahead of ratepayers if it approves: letter

GALLERY: Gympie netball stars shine at carnival

premium_icon GALLERY: Gympie netball stars shine at carnival

GALLERY: Gympie netball stars shine at carnival

Local Partners