A PARLIAMENTARY inquiry into slashing green tape is an opportunity missed, according to the Tasmanian Environmental Defenders Office.
A federal committee given the task of examining and streamlining environmental laws yesterday handed down its final report, offering up more than a dozen recommendations.
Among its key findings was pursuing a "one-stop shop" approach to regulation, which would see states and territories assess and approve developments that fall under federal environmental law.
Environmental Defenders Office Tasmania principal lawyer Jess Feehely said she strongly supported efforts to scrap unnecessary regulation, but questioned the approach being taken.
"We maintain that the Commonwealth minister is best placed to make final determinations in respect of matters of national environmental significance," Ms Feehely said.
"The report also dismisses concerns that removing Commonwealth involvement will actually reduce consistency across jurisdictions, again relying on an assurance from industry and government that this will not be the case."
Ms Feehely instead backed a dissenting report released by Labor committee members rejecting the "one-stop shop" model, who argued the approach would not lead to greater efficiency or consistency.
Ms Feehely also argued the report incorrectly assumed quick environmental approvals were inherently better.
She said there was no evidence Commonwealth involvement was a significant extra burden or that strict regulation resulted in productivity declines.
"Many of the delays experienced in project development are not a result of legislative burdens, but of staff changes, poor communication, proponents not providing adequate information or lack of co-ordination between departments," she said.
"These are all areas where administrative improvements could reduce delays and duplication, without reducing environmental protections."
Ms Feehely supported the committee's calls for a more co-ordinated approach to threatened species listings.
The committee recommended establishing a single, regularly updated national list of endangered and threatened species.
It also called for the delisting of those no longer endangered and removal of unnecessary duplication of scientific assessments of each of the affected species.