Premier Colin Barnett has flagged possible changes to the Environmental Protection Authority approval process if his Government is re-elected, including expanding the board or drafting in temporary members to replace those with potential conflicts.
Mr Barnett conceded the Browse approval process had hit a snag after Environment Minister Bill Marmion delayed the environmental watchdog’s decision pending legal advice yesterday.
The delay came after it emerged EPA chairman Paul Vogel would be the only board member to adjudicate on Woodside’s Browse LNG proposal because all the others had potential conflicts of interest.
Mr Barnett said the delay would only be a week or two and would not affect the timeframe for the overall realisation of the project because Woodside and its partners were yet to make a final investment decision.
“There’s been some questioning of the process given that only one of the EPA members is able to adjudicate on this issue and only one can make the recommendation to Government,” He said.
“So what is happening is simply a short delay has been put in place to just go back and check every step of the process, to make sure it is absolutely correct in a legal sense and a process sense.”
Asked if the EPA process could be improved upon, he said: “We may consider that if re-elected to Government”.
An expanded board was one option.“I guess that might be a possibility or it might be a possibility to draw in other members if there are situations like this where people find themselves potentially conflicted,” he said.
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