Prime minister Scott Morrison has announced the government’s intention to overhaul Australia’s environmental approval process for major projects, claiming the system is overly complex and drawn out.

In a speech to the Business Council of Australia, he pledged to reduce the lengthy process by allowing businesses to submit applications online.

“Environmental approval processes for major projects are overly complex, duplicative and they take too long,” he says.

“…Digital technology gives us the opportunity to make these processes faster and simpler. We will partner with the Western Australian Government to develop a system that will reduce approval times, allow project proponents to submit a single application via a single online portal, track its progress and access a database of biodiversity studies relevant to their project.”

According to Morrison, it currently takes approximately three-and-a-half years for a complex major project to navigate the State and Commonwealth environmental assessment process. The use of digital technology could reduce this to a period of 6-18 months.

This statement comes ahead of a significant review of federal environmental laws, which green groups have denounced as failing and inadequate.